Verdugo, Sierra Leone, Covina

Background information

Woods Davy, 333 S. Hope Street. Verdugo, 1986, 6'h x 4'w x 2'd; Sierra Leone, 1983, 22'h x 2'w' x 1'6"d; Covina 1986, 8'h x 2'w x 3'd
"Urban Sculpture: Architectural Concerns" was presented in late 1983 as one of a series of exhibitions sponsored by the Security Pacific National Bank at their headquarters at 333 S. Hope Street. According to its curator, Tressa Ruslander Miller, this survey of 15 Los Angeles artists addressed "the issues of contemporary sculpture" and took "into consideration the formal qualities and references existing in both the architecture and the gardens of Security Pacific Plaza."(1) One of the installations in the exhibit consisted of three works by Woods Davy--"Anaarundle," "Sierra Leone" and "Glen Burnie."

Davy selected the site at the top of the flight of stairs because it was like a stage that made each work in the ensemble appear larger. Davy also felt the site created a frame in which the contrasts between the man-made office towers and the natural sky, trees and grass, mirrored the juxtaposition of stone and steel in the sculpture. When Davy installed the three works, he placed "Sierra Leone," the tallest of the three, at the center of the ensemble to reinforce the site's symmetry.

The two smaller pieces, "Anaarundle" and "Glen Burnie," each named after towns in Maryland, were sold during the 1983 exhibition to collectors in Palm Springs and later removed. Davy left "Sierra Leone" at the bank on loan. After acquiring the building from Security Pacific National Bank in 1985, Metropolitan Life purchased "Sierra Leone" and commissioned Davy to execute two works that would restore the three part ensemble. The new works, "Verdugo" on the viewer's right and "Covina" on the viewer's left, are similar but not identical to the two earlier pieces. Davy names his works after places to emphasize their geographical presence.

In addition to the use of contrasting materials in the three works, another contrast exists between the soft contours of the stone and the hard edges of the steel. The stones, which are either granite from the Los Angeles River or compressed sandstone from Santa Barbara, are out of context and appear to be floating in the air.(2)


1. "Urban Sculpture: Architectural Concerns," September 9, 1983-January 4, 1984, Poster

2. Interviews with Woods Davy by Michael Several, July 22, 1987 and August 6, 1987.

The text has been provided courtesy of Michael Several, Los Angeles, October 1998.

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