California Art


Angels Beacon, 1994, San Pedro, California

SAN PEDRO, CALIF.--Angels Beacon is named for the San Pedro and L.A. Port location known as Angels Gate, for the City of Angels, Los Angeles.

Designed by John Okulick, and fabricated by Gilad Ben-Artzi, the sculpture that fills an entire plaza entryway was unveiled and dedicated in downtown San Pedro in 1994 in what was considered a redevelopment area. Located at Port of Los Angeles Liberty Hall Plaza, 100 W. 5th St., San Pedro, California, the art piece includes some abstract and definitive shapes such as boat in the sea. The bronze sculpture stands 14' x 8' x 24', according to one source and 11'6"h x 4'9"w, according to yet another.

Angels Beacon is a Beacon Street Project at Port of Los Angeles Liberty Hill Plaza is located in a 30 foot round rotunda at the entrance of the building. The bronze vertical screen panel contains a collage of harbor and ship elements below navigational stars and satellites. The screen is supported by two semi-circular seats set atop paving with a colored concrete propeller design.

For fans of Okulick's work you can see his art pieces in public spaces--

*Steel Gates 10' x 15', steel Ronald Regan State Office Bldg., Los Angeles, CA

*Mountain Storm 14' x 14' x 8' fence, frieze 2' x 60', painted steel Transportation Facility and Offices, Reno, NV

*Three Moons 8' x 8' x 4', glass, painted steel First Interstate Bank, Ameron Center, Pasadena, CA

*Angeles Beacon 14' x 8' x 24', bronze Los Angeles Harbor Dept. Bldg., San Pedro, CA

*Highline 84" x 51" x 12", painted wood and gold leaf Prentis Properties, Los Angeles, CA

*Fun Zone 10' x 145', painted steel Sony Entertainment, Culver City, CA

*Candelabra 14' x 14' x 8', painted steel Homestead Village, Brea, CA

Mountain Pass 16' x 12' x 1', painted steel Chatsworth MTA, Chatsworth, CA

*Sentry 12' x 12' x 8', steel, concrete, tile, water, light fixtures Culver City Police Dept., Culver City, CA

*Tilted Bridge 14' x 5' x 6', stainless steel Cypress Land Company, Calabasas, CA

*Metrolink Station, Los Angeles, CA

The artist's work is represented in public collections at Los Angeles County Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; and Il Museo delle Ceramiche Grazia, Deruta, Italy.

Born in New York in 1947, the Southern California artist says his sculpture is a platform from which the viewer can take a ride. "That ride can be a flight of fancy or a journey through a vast open space, toward a feeling of freedom," said John Okulick. "Layers in my sculpture create visual density evoking the physical layers that surround us. There are references to buildings, automobiles, machines, time and movement; elements of society that refer in an abstract way to current events."

Using shapes and depth to create spatial tension and layering sequential components, the artist presents a contrast between the natural and the forced--between rigid and loose. The work offers a visual and physical intensity while maintaining an effortless appearance to a complex structure.

"Control of the building components gives a sense of order yet there is an implied movement. A Modernist restraint appears in the structures that embody architectural, social and economic self-reflection. Reality is distorted in a way that elevates and confronts the viewer. The undiscovered possibilities drive my creative process." -John Okulick

John Okulick received his BA from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his MFA from the University of California, Irvine. Okulick is fascinated by the illusion of space between reality and fantasy and strives to capture this space by combining high-tech materials with more natural and traditional materials such as wood, gold leaf, and paint. Okulick's public artworks give the viewer a sense of depth that is based on the artist's construction or perspective.

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