Fluent Steps celebrates the many moods of water through four small islands of glass: Cascades, Echo, Crystal Skin, and Wisps. It spans the entire length of the 210-foot-long Main Plaza reflecting pool and rises from water level to 15-feet in height. The piece consists of 754 individually hand-sculpted pieces of glass mostly created in the Museum’s Hot Shop during Blank’s 45-day Visiting Artist Residency in 2008.
The sculpture includes four individual islands of glass that interact with one another to portray Blank’s interpretation of water in its various forms. Cascades rises above the viewer to a height of 15-feet above the water like a surging waterfall. Echo languidly flows across the surface of the pool, creating an intimate dance of texture and reflective light. Crystal Skin, created by molding glass around a 20-foot madrona tree, quietly floats atop the water surface, and Wisps, a field of hundreds of small glass forms, breaches the surface like rising mist.
The project required the invention of new tools to handle the massive amounts of glass and a team of 41 artists, architects, and engineers to create and install the work. For both Martin and the Museum, it was a marathon that demanded vast amounts of imagination, creativity, persistence, and resourcefulness. The result is a magnificent sculpture that captures the fluidity, light, motion, and transparency of water in clear glass. Ultimately, it is a work of art that is as imaginative and exuberant as Martin Blank himself.
This monumental installation opened April 18, 2009, and is part of the Museum’s Permanent Collection of Twentyith and Twenty-first century glass art.