July 2, 2001
Sculpture at City Hall soothes the soul
by Bronwyn Wilson
The melodic sound of moving water can be heard while sitting beside a creek in the quiet woods or while visiting the new city hall in Woodinville.
A water sculpture, inspired by local artist Mark Gockel, will be installed on the east side of the building the first part of July.
The metal fountain, called "Moonlight Serenade," spills sheets of water over terraced bowl-like spheres. The cascading water creates a rhythmic and soothing sound.
Gockel explained, "The idea being that water is relaxing and peaceful."
The City Council has discussed placing a bench near the fountain so citizens can enjoy and appreciate the calming movement of the water. "It really needs to be in a spot where people will come and sit because it's so relaxing," Gockel said.
The rhythm of life and the seasons is the inspiration behind Gockel's works.
"Nature inspires me," he said, "... and the beauty all around us. Music very much inspires me."
When not creating sculptures out of metal or marble, Gockel plays the piano and guitar and also composes music.
His wife Linda said that sometimes the music he plays on the piano is so beautiful that she'll ask him about the composer, wondering which of the great classics it is.
"I made it up," Gockel tells her. His impromptu lyrics just come to him as does his sculpture designs. He said he loves to listen to the magical sounds of Wolfgang Mozart and the heaven-like singing voice of Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli to prompt his creativity.
In addition, many of his works have a musical theme, such as his sculpture, "Symphony of Water" on display in Sedona, Ariz.
Other art pieces by Gockel have nature in mind. He has a display of stone sculptures at the gallery Art Forte in Kirkland and at D'Adamo/Hill Art Gallery in Pioneer Square. He uses Brazilian soap stone, Yule marble and is currently working with Carera marble. His stone sculptures are basically abstract and modern, but he recently created a more traditional type of sculpture that especially impressed his 12-year-old daughter.
The piece, made of Colorado alabaster, is an angel holding a baby. "My daughter said, 'Dad, I can't believe you did that,'" recalled Gockel, laughing at his daughter's amazement of his abilities. Linda Gockel said the angel piece, called "Protection," is rustic with some parts polished. She said she was just as moved by it as her daughter.
Art has been a passion for Mark Gockel since he was very young. Before creating sculptures, he designed homes, furniture and rings. "Designing homes was too confining," he said. "One day I started sculpture pieces."
He has a sketch pad and sketches everyday. "I have hundreds of designs on paper and many more in my head." While dreaming up sculptures on his pad, he might muse over the possibilities, "What if I use bowls and water and incorporate that into the sculpture."
However, he hasn't given up on the idea of designing homes. He said he'd like to do cutting-edge architectural designs with sculpture integrated.
"One of my dreams is to design my own home. And to design a church." He envisions a church with a fountain of angels developed into the architecture.
He also has plans for his sculptures. "The ones I would like to do in the future have splashes of color incorporated," he said.
One of his newest pieces, "Let's Fall In Love" has some bright blues and reds. "It's kind of whimsical," he said of the sculpture proposed to go in front of the D'Adamo/Hill Art Gallery in Bellevue.
His wife added, "The minute you see the piece, the name fits. It's playful and fun and appeals to children and adults and grandparents."
His Carera stone sculpture will be exhibited at Bellevue Place this summer. Gockel is pleased that his art is appreciated and noticed by others. "It's such a rewarding thing to now have it finally come to recognition."
The "Moonlight Serenade" sculpture was acquired as part of the city of Woodinville's plans to furnish public places with artwork within the downtown core and along the Sammamish River Trail. The city liked Gockel's piece and was able to purchase it at a much reduced price.
Gockel resides in Kirkland with his wife and two daughters, Kaelie and Emilie, and looks forward to seeing some of his other works brighten city landscapes.
He likes touring downtown areas in search of public places that could be enhanced with his art. After finding a spot, such as a recently discovered place at Carillon Point for his work, his promoter will present the idea to the city along with pictures of Gockel's art.
Although the sculpture re-circulates about ten gallons of water, the city is observing water conservation and may hold off putting water in until the water-alert is over.
Other than that, nothing else will keep Woodinville's citizens from enjoying it.
"All they need to do," said Gockel, "is plug it into power and it's ready to go."
For further information, contact the Gockels at (425) 822-1272.