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Rik Allen’s Recent MoNA show gives nod to Henry Klein designed space

Posted June 23rd, 2013 by HKP Architects

Rik Allen’s futuristic “Seeker” museum exhibition features the artist’s largest-scale work to date Rik Allen, Seeker, 2013. Glass, steel, aluminum. H 180, W 66, D 66 in. photo: KP studios. courtesy: Museum of Northwest Art.

Contemporary glass artist Rik Allen has expanded the scale of his latest work featured in his solo exhibition titled “Seeker” at the Museum of Northwest Art (MoNA) in La Conner, Washington.

The exhibition, which closes this Sunday, June 9th, showcases Allen’s most ambitious creation yet: a 15-foot glass and metal site-specific rocket designed for the curved wall of the MoNA main gallery. The massive size of the rocket, titled “Seeker,” from which the show draws its name, has been inspiring and exciting for Allen, who, in an email exchange with the GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet, said he plans to “continue exploring this scale and experimenting with various surfaces, including glass panels and sheeting.”

As such a large installation, the sculpture has required a sturdy structural support, which Allen supplements mostly with steel and an “aluminum skin” for the hull. Allen’s goal has been to get as close as possible to an actual space exploration vehicle, and the surrounding environmental context of the museum further aids in evoking this idea.

Allen explains that he, “built this with the space in mind, having a beautiful round entrance gallery with an open space above that cuts into the second floor, and a large round sky dome off the center from the space. I had always wanted to make something to work with this unique architectural space, designed by Henry Klein.”

Lifted high above the viewer’s gaze, the rocket’s height is accentuated by its “long legs stretching into the sky,” as the surrounding museum space serves as Allen’s imagined observatory. Centered inside the spacecraft, but piercing the exterior hull, is a partially metal telescope derived from both blown and cast glass. Allen has also situated a red chair within the interior, tucked quietly at the telescope’s eyepiece. “The little red chair is a recurring narrative is some works,” Allen has explained. “It serves as a seat for the mind, but also as a simple placeholder for the observer to sit down, strap in and get rolling…” -—Gina DeCagna, The GLASS Quarterly Hotsheet Photos courtesy of Rik Allen