Kirkland Arts Center (KAC) Executive Director Kelly Dylla announced the official opening and unveiling of the KAC’s commissioned sculptural installation, “Pareidolia People,” created by engineer and artist Ed McCarthy, on Friday, August 10 at 4:00 p.m. during Kirkland’s 2018 Summerfest celebration. The six steel structures explore the relationship between people and their environment. The metal ‘people’ are a family of individuals that are shaped by city objects and nature. The public art exhibition on Park Lane in downtown Kirkland is expected to inspire visitors to reflect on their place in urban dwellings as well as their relationship to each other while navigating the city. The steel structures will remain on Park Lane through July 15, 2019.
“‘Pareidolia People’ will be a significant addition to Kirkland and the Eastside's vibrant arts community through this year-long public exhibition, as well as through STEAM workshops and events for youth and families,” stated Dylla. “Each sculpture personifies city landscapes to reflect human characteristics, and personalities, and relationships that represent our great Northwest culture. KAC is grateful to the City of Kirkland, the Kirkland Cultural Arts Commission, The Norcliffe Foundation and 4Culture for believing in the power of art to inspire, connect, and educate.”
Ed McCarthy shares his artistic insight on the commissioned artwork, “The six ‘city people’ are all related by scale, color, material and a common vocabulary of shapes. The sculptures I built are based on objects in the city. Sometimes I can look at individual buildings, mail boxes, light poles, and other urban objects such as bridge piers and see people. Sometimes distorted, sometimes deconstructed, these perceived figures can surface from inanimate objects. This tendency to see patterns in random visual stimuli is more generally known as pareidolia. This body of work explores this phenomenon, albeit with an added touch of bright industrial coatings.”
Supporting the Center’s education mission, McCarthy continues, "I made these pieces with our youth in mind. I want them to have a tactile experience: to feel the texture of the paint, notice the thickness of the metal, hear the different acoustics when you knock on them, and feel the temperature of the metal in the shade compared to the sun. Perhaps, an encounter with these sculptures will inspire youth to become architects or artists?" KAC will create a STEAM curriculum workbook for public schools, community centers, libraries, and after-school programs for students in grades 3-5 to explore questions about the steel sculpture installation, such as "How are people shaped by their environment?"
Ed McCarthy has a background in architecture and engineering and incorporates structural form into his sculptures. His work attempts to give new meaning to the term "industrial art" by creating sometimes bulky and rugged objects reminiscent of machinery or manufacturing tools. McCarthy creates simple, abstract, geometric shapes.