Sculpture with a side of scenery

Officially, the Merriam-Webster dictionary describes the term "cabin fever" as "extreme irritability and restlessness from living in isolation or a confined indoor area for a prolonged time." Unofficially, I refer to it as the "never-ending spell between winter and spring when people long to flee their living quarters and explore the world, but simultaneously wish to avoid the plague and adverse temperatures by grumpily hunkering underneath a down comforter."

In between windstorms and cold snaps, spending time outdoors can help alleviate the symptoms of this particular strain of fever, as well as provide a safe space to let off steam during the pandemic. I'm of the opinion the therapy can be augmented by incorporating culture into the mix. Luckily, we live in a place where art and nature exist in close proximity to each other. At Western Washington University, for example, a self-guided tour of the school's lauded Outdoor Sculpture Collection may be just the thing to combat seasonal blahs and blues.

From the cherry-red "For Handel" multi-dimensional steel sculpture by Mark di Suvero that since 1975 has been gracing the lawn in front of Western's Performing Arts Center — which also leads to a birds-eye view of Bellingham Bay — to Robert Maki's shadow-filled "Curve/Diagonal" work along High Street, Lloyd Hamrol's participatory "Log Ramps" near the Environmental Studies building, and Nancy Holt's celestial "Stone Enclosure: Rock Rings" (pictured) in the university's south field, the campus-wide tour provides a breath of fresh air while highlighting important works from the 1960s and beyond.

For further insight about the last sculpture mentioned, check out "Nancy Holt: Between Heaven and Earth," which opened to the public Jan. 13 and is showing through May 7 at the Western Gallery. The exhibit focuses on the career path that led the late sculptor to create "Stone Enclosure: Rock Rings," and touches on everything from geology to biology, ecology, surveying technology and even astronomy.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022 - 11:40am