DUARTE/CITY OF HOPE STATION
Spirit of the San Gabriel River by Andrea Myklebust & Stanton Gray Sears
Artists Andrea Myklebust and Stanton Gray Sears were inspired by the extensive research they conducted at the local historical society and their long walks along the San Gabriel River wash for their design of the Duarte / City of Hope Station artwork Spirit of the San Gabriel River. The layout of this station presented some challenging space problems and the artists chose to site three tall sculptural columns with oblong limestone capitals down the center of the platform and one in the nearby parking facility. This placement allows for train passengers and car travelers on Duarte Road to enjoy the artwork from multiple vantage points as the light shifts throughout the day.
Fascinated with the idea of who has traversed and benefited from this rich landscape over the centuries, the artists chose four visual elements to hand-carve in relief on each of the limestone capitals topping the nearly seven-foot high columns. The first relief is a topographical map of the area to give a visual overview of the region and landscape. California Live Oak leaves are a reference to the native flora. The basket-weaving image is derived from the Gabrielino- Tongva peoples who gathered acorns along the river. An intricate saddle design is borrowed from traditional Mexican leather carving as a tribute to Mexico’s history and influence in the area.
Surrounding the column bases on the ground, Myklebust and Sears have laid an intricate design of square cast-bronze pavers donning low-level reliefs depicting orange blossoms, branches, and fruit. The floral imagery is derived from the colorful crate labels used by the local citrus industry in the late 1800s and early 1900s to brand and transport their fruit across the nation. This final element grounds the 11’ tall vertical sculptures and weaves an expansive footprint around the sculpture bases on the platform like a citrus grove spreading towards the horizon.
“Our work explores the natural and cultural histories of the place for which it is designed. In the City of Duarte, this meant working within the context of the San Gabriel River, and an examination of the history and artifacts of the many people who have lived and worked in the area over time, from the native Gabrielino-Tongva, through successive waves of immigration and industry, to the high-tech campus across the street from the station. We worked in durable sculptural materials selected to complement the forms and colors of the natural landscape of Duarte.”
About the Artists
Andrea Myklebust and Stanton Gray Sears are the principal artists of Myklebust + Sears studio located in rural Pepin County, Wisconsin. They began working collaboratively in 1993 and have created more than sixty sculptural works for sites across the country. As with previous projects, the artist team thoughtfully addressed issues of scale, placement and viewing opportunities as they developed the final sculpture designs for the Duarte / City of Hope Station. Their award-winning work has been featured in Americans for the Arts Year in Review, Landscape Architecture Magazine, Sculpture Magazine, and Public Art Review. Myklebust received her Bachelor of Arts from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota and studied sculpture at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. Sears is an Associate Professor of Art at Macalester College and holds a Master of Fine Arts in Painting from Penn State University, State College, PA. Highlights of their collaborative work include installations for light rail stations on the Minneapolis-St. Paul Central Corridor line; at the Microbial Sciences building at the University of Wisconsin, Madison; and at the historic Fox Theater in Stockton, California.