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What’s in your garden? Rowe Fine Art Gallery wants to know

Vantage Point monumental bronze sculpture, by Ken Rowe.

Vantage Point monumental bronze sculpture, by Ken Rowe.

Originally Published: April 27, 2021 8:14 a.m.

When you think of fine art, do you conjure images of hushed museums, artistically lit paintings on dining room walls and sculptures on custom pedestals in grand entryways?

That’s all fine and dandy, but what about patios, terraces, porches, gardens, balconies and pool houses? Why should your more formal spaces have all the fun?

In May, Rowe Fine Art Gallery asks art lovers What’s In Your Garden? with a bronze sculpture show that opens May 7 and runs the entire month.

Homeowners are surprised when they hear how many bronzes are purchased for outdoor placement, says wildlife sculptor and gallery owner Ken Rowe. With more people spending time entertaining outdoors, art collectors are adding commissioned and monumental pieces to their collections.

“Here in Arizona and the Southwest, bronze sculptures of all sizes do really well outdoors,” says Ken. “When you purchase a sculpture from Rowe Fine Art Gallery, we’ll consult with you on the best location to place it, and if your goal is to display it outdoors, we will send you home with a care kit complete with wax, a brush and a cloth. You only need to wax it once a year, so it’s almost maintenance-free. And though it might sound funny, a piece of wildlife art in a natural setting can make you feel even closer to nature, a connection that I believe is very important.”

During the May show, monumental sculptures from Ken and Joshua Tobey will be on display. But outdoor art isn’t restricted to freestanding or even life-sized sculptures.

Rowe Gallery’s bronze artists, including Ken, Joshua and Kim Kori, have also created wall sculptures suitable for interiors and exteriors. And Joshua says his clients frequently purchase smaller sculptures, like his raccoon piece, Magic Hands, for outdoor placement.

“I’ve seen those raccoons wind up everywhere from a bathroom counter to leaning up against a window, looking into a house,” says the sculptor, who just finished a commission of 11 life-size bighorn sheep. “Truly, when you see artwork in a gallery, it’s unfinished. It’s the collector who completes the creative process by placing the artwork, and I’m always amazed to see the end result.

“When I’ve watched people place art outdoors, I’ve noticed that they are 100 percent in control of the creativity,” Joshua continues. “And that’s the apex of what art is – and what collecting art is. A sculpture becomes an expression of the collectors themselves. In turn, I wind up learning about my own work.”

Now and again, a particularly inspired collector comes in with a surprise request. When a visitor who lives in New Hampshire and Florida stopped into the gallery, Kim Kori’s Luna sculpture caught his eye. He didn’t intend to place the bronze luna moth in his home, though. Instead, he had a custom mount crafted so that he could use the artwork as a hood ornament for his Audi SUV.

“I’ve also had three of my large frog sculptures placed in a fountain outside a corporation in Washington State,” recalls Kim when asked about some of the more unusual places her sculptures have found homes. “Another frog bronze, Spellbound, sits on a golf course in Ontario, Canada. I always think it’s cool to hear stories like that. What is so unique about bronze sculptures is that, when placed outdoors, the patinas acquire subtle changes over time, turning them into one-of-a-kind works of art.”

Rowe Fine Art Gallery is located under the bell tower in Patio de las Campanas at Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village, is open Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 928-282-8877, visit rowegallery.com, or find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.