The Embrace Sculpture is part of the Sentinel Series; a collection of larger than human-scale works that Rhodes began in 2009. Designed to stand witness in the landscape, these works are abstract and largely figurative in nature. Much of the series concerns itself with the notion that the viewer will ascribe meaning to a work, out of their own personal experience and work to fill in the story if the sculpture is visually and metaphorically “open”. Rhodes refers to this quality as “suitably blank”.
Embrace, is essentially two forms, locked in subtle shifts of scale and inclination. The works is deeply suggestive of the shifting and ephemeral balance of power between many life forms including humans. There are other clues to their interaction. Of note, the space between the forms is intimate but never closed. In this way, despite the deep embrace, it intimates that neither monolith is ever lost to the larger union.
Contrast the carefully controlled separation at the center with the tightly closed joint below the larger, more powerful form. This tight joint, suggests the manifest authority of the larger form is somehow being drawn from all that has come before. This strength, grafted from the knowledge and power of prior greatness informs the mass and strength of the work. This earlier, deeper source may be generational, societal or even drawn from prior civilizations; it is left for the viewer to define.
The hand-carved textural gradient refines and softens at the point of greatest intimacy, the center of the dovetail connection. The deeply rutted texture of the exterior eventually smooths and shines, suggesting the energy of the connection brings with it a type of deep healing.
The work was hand-carved in Golden Granite in 2012 and weighs 6-tons. It stands almost 8’ tall (2700 mm). The work has been exhibited at Sculpture by the Sea- Bondi (Sydney, Australia) in 2012 and Sculpture by the Sea- Cottesloe (Perth, Australia) in 2013. The work is currently represented by the Hotham Street Contemporary Gallery in Melbourne Australia.
London Art Critic, Tom Flynn, states in his review:
“The promenade’s surrounding lawns are clearly the prime real estate at the Cottesloe Exhibition, enjoyed this year by, among others, illustrious participants such as leading Chinese artists Chen Wenling and Sui Jianguo, British heavyweight Sir Anthony Caro and American artist Richard Rhodes…. Seattle-based Sculptor and designer Richard Rhodes’ Embrace: Sentinel Series, comprising two chunky interlocking forms in carved granite, was among the few truly stand-out works, beautifully executed and open to multiple readings. It seemed perfectly at home overlooking the ocean. Brancusi would have liked it.”