In 1982, I was hired by the City of Kent as a freelancer to work on Herbert Bayer’s Earthworks at Mill Creek Canyon. My responsibility was to be the on-site photographer during the construction process of the earthwork, and to record its completion. I was also charged with acting as a liaison between Herbert Bayer and the City of Kent. I was on-site frequently and it was a natural for me to be the eyes and ears on the ground. During that period I took photographs of the process, sent these along to Mr. Bayer and the City, and kept the artist informed of progress through telephone conversations with him at his studio.
Two years earlier, I had completed my own earth sculpture, The Source at Luther Burbank Park, Mercer Island, Washington. I was an early career artist, who had been awarded a small commission by the King County Arts Commission for my own work. Herbert Bayer, along with the other internationally known artists chosen by the county to execute the high profile larger projects, I viewed as mentors. I was anxious to learn as much as I could from Herbert Bayer.
I found Herbert Bayer to be a patient man, always eager to hear about progress on the project. He was concerned about the craftsmanship of the execution of his design and the quality of the final product. While Robert Morris’ Earthwork was created within the framework of an artist’s personal statement, Herbert Bayer’s outlook was different. His integrated approach encompassed storm water run-off and a passive recreation park environment, even as he maintained his own strong, aesthetic vision.
In my own work, my preferred choice of materials are the natural ones: stone and other earth products. I am particularly interested in stones’ naturally occurring characteristics, formations and textures. Much of my work strives to retain, enhance and abstract naturally-occurring shapes and lines through direct carving techniques. I then use textural gradations and stone polishes to create transitions between natural surfaces and worked surfaces.
For the past 27 years, John Hoge has designed, sculpted and installed custom projects in stone throughout the Puget Sound region. Hoge’s work is so well-suited to this area that many artists reference his work, perhaps unaware of the source of their own inspiration. Hoge frequently participates as an artist in design teams – multi-disciplinary groups composed of architects, landscape architects, writers, historians and visual artists. He also works directly with contractors and engineers on large-scale, complex projects. His commissions include commercial and civic installations; sculptures set in private estates, gardens and collections; and small, personal works.
1-3. The Source, 1980, Luther Burbank Park, Mercer Island, Washington. Earth and stone sculpture recycling lake water in a stone channel. 140' w x 220' l x 3' h Commissioning Agency: King County Arts Commission