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A Question of Balance:  Selected Works from Pacific Rim Sculptors

Museum of Sonoma County, Santa Rosa, CA

January 27 – May 26, 2024

Barbara M. Berk’s ceiling-suspended sculpture “Open Spirals – Variations on a Theme – Medium 10 – 17:17” has been selected for A Question of Balance:  Selected Works from Pacific Rim Sculptors at the Museum of Sonoma County in Santa Rosa, CA.

Juried by Jeff Nathanson, Museum of Sonoma County Executive Director and Art Curator, and Kate Eilertsen, Executive Director and Chief Curator of Di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art, the exhibition features the work of 46 sculptors, who each used their own interpretation in materials, techniques, subject matter, or a combination of concepts to address the theme of Balance. The resulting exhibition presents a diverse range of approaches, techniques, and materials.  Included are sculptural works in metal, wood, stone, mixed media, and installation in sizes ranging from nine inches to over 12 feet in height.

Barbara M. Berk’s sculpture embodies the interplay of metal with traditional fiber techniques.  She uses 16th century stitches to make bobbin lace, by hand, and then curves, loops, twists, interweaves, layers, sews, embroiders, welds and polishes the flat lace “fabric” into 3-dimensional forms.

Berk created “Open Spirals – Variations on a Theme – Medium 10 – 17:17” with phosphor bronze wire.  Using 16 strands of 80” long twisted wire with Dieppe Ground stitch, she made 7 ribbons of bobbin lace each 4.5” wide x 23.25” long. She then shaped each flat ribbon into an open spiral, drew the bottom edge up and stabilized the 3-dimensional form by stitching the long wire ends to the lace with wire, creating sprays of wires centered by rosettes.

About the theme of the exhibition, Berk stated: 


“Balance is intrinsic to my artwork:  The metal I use is soft enough to make lace with my fingers, yet it stiffens when moved, thereby maintaining the openings that reveal the pattern of the lace and the voids in the form itself.  It is this combination of the metal’s physical properties and working characteristics, plus the structural integrity inherent in the fiber techniques I use, that enables me to create work that is aesthetically pleasing yet structurally sound. Once complete, I find the physical balance point from which to suspend the elements.


Only when all the components are balanced…


Domestic process :: Industrial material

Soft :: Hard

Delicacy :: Strength

Positive :: Negative space

Aesthetically pleasing :: Structurally sound

Perception :: Reality


…can I fuse Material + Process + Form to create my sinuous sculptures.”


The exhibition runs from January 27th through May 26th, coinciding with and celebrating International Sculpture Day on Saturday, April 27th.  International Sculpture Day is organized by the International Sculpture Center, which also publishes Sculpture magazine.  The non-profit Pacific Rim Sculptors (PRS) is a chapter of the International Sculpture Center.  With members in the San Francisco Bay Area, along the West Coast and elsewhere around the continent and the globe, PRS’s mission is to promote artistic excellence and provide collective opportunities & resources for members.  Further, PRS fosters the development of young artists and contributes to communities by increasing public awareness & appreciation of sculpture as an important art form.


Located in Downtown Santa Rosa, CA, the Museum of Sonoma County welcomes visitors to experience regional history and contemporary art. The MSC engages and inspires its diverse community with art and history exhibitions, collections, and public programs that are inclusive, educational, and relevant. The Seventh Street campus includes two buildings, multiple galleries, and a sculpture garden.


Information about the exhibition

is courtesy of Pacific Rim Sculptors and Museum of Sonoma County.

About the work in the Exhibition:

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