gaps in the Reston Town Square Park - Initiative for Public Art

June 8, 2010
Contact: Anne Delaney
Contact: Joanne Bauer
Three sculptures arrive June 8 - 11 in Reston Town Square Park
Works are part of the juried exhibition, gaps,
on view at Greater Reston Arts Center
June 24 – July 31, 2010
gaps Opening Reception: Saturday, June 26, 5 – 7pm
Juror’s Salon: Wednesday, July 7, 6 – 7:30pm
Panel Discussion: “The Gallery Outside: Acquisition or Exhibition”
Tuesday, July 20, 7:30pm
Reston, VA: Earthquake, The Way to Be, and Monument to the Sun and Stars,
three vibrantly colored wood sculptures, will be situated in planting beds along
the Market Street side of Reston Town Square Park during the week of June 7,
2010. The three works by Maryland sculptor, Mike Shaffer, appear as part of gaps, a
juried exhibition, featuring twenty-two other artists whose work will be installed inside
Greater Reston Arts Center adjacent to the park at 12001 Market Street. All sculpture
was selected by Vesela Sretenovic, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at The
Phillips Collection.
The installation of Mike Shaffer’s sculpture in Reston Town Square Park is made
possible through the cooperation of Reston Town Center Association. gaps is the first
temporary outdoor sculpture exhibition in the park and the first collaborative project
between Initiative for Public Art – Reston (IPAR), Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE),
and Washington Sculptors Group (WSG). Previously in 2008 – 2009 IPAR supported
Sleeping Tree, a multi-part project at GRACE and Dogwood Elementary School.
Mike Shaffer has exhibited his work throughout the mid-Atlantic region in both indoor
and outdoor settings. His sculpture, Lighthouse/Whitehouse, is currently on view in the
Foggy Bottom Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit in Washington, D.C. between 24th and 26th
streets NW and H and K streets. Washington Post art critic, Blake Gopnik, singled out
Shaffer’s work as, “The best piece on view, by the widest of margins…” and continued
by saying “It’s good because, when you come across it on the lawn of a nice old
Washington home, you can’t tell right away that it is art.”
Gopnik’s rational for good art might also apply to Shaffer’s three sculptures included in
gaps. The Way to Be, a simple, green tower, was included in POP-UP@SOMA.
Sophisticated yet playful, the stacked wooden structure is reminiscent of both Buddhist
temples and play equipment. Shaffer believes that his childhood passion for building
architectural structures with colorful blocks and Lincoln Logs influenced his current
projects. “I like their openness and the way the bright crisscrossing beams and boards
are able to define the space in which the whole work resides without completely
separating it from its surroundings.”
Another brightly colored sculpture, Earthquake, also uses stacked timbers but these
sturdy beams form a jumbled, haphazard pile. The work looks as though it might have
once stood tall but was knocked over like a child’s block tower.
Shaffer’s third work, Monument to the Sun and Stars, unlike his other two, does not
reference toys or play. The work developed during an exhibition in Gettysburg where the
sculptor reflected on how we use monuments to honor figures from a specific time and
place in history. Working from the opposite direction, Shaffer constructed his twelve-foot
spire to honor the cosmos – a system that is timeless and universal.
To learn more about Mike Shaffer, visit his website at and join him
as he discusses his work with juror, Vesela Sretenovic and other exhibition artists on
Wednesday, July 7, from 6:00 -7:30pm at GRACE.
For an in-depth conversation about temporary vs. permanent public art, please join Dale
Lanzone, President of Public Art International Marlborough, and a panel of public arts
professionals on Tuesday, July 20, at 7:30pm at GRACE.
An exhibition catalog featuring all works in gaps will be available at GRACE.
To learn more about the co-sponsoring organizations, visit their websites:
Initiative for Public Art – Reston
Greater Reston Arts Center
Washington Sculptors Group
Mike Shaffer
The Way to Be, 2010, 9.5’ x 5.5’ x 5.5,’ acrylic, reclaimed wood
Earthquake, 2010, 6.5’ x 8’ x 5.5,’ acrylic, reclaimed wood
Monument to the Sun and Stars, 2009, 12’ x 2.5’ x 2.5,’ acrylic, reclaimed wood
12001 Market Street, Suite 103, Reston, VA 20190