Sculptor and artist Fred Eversley has been commissioned by Related Companies in partnership with the City of West Palm Beach to create a new public art installation. Slated for completion in spring of 2024, the artwork is titled Portals. It will comprise a constellation of eight of his signature parabolic shapes in transparent, violet-hued polyurethane resin, adorning the One Flagler office tower, a new 25-story building designed by architect David Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP.
Eversley’s work is often associated with the Light and Space movement. It has been featured in over 200 exhibitions and is included in over 40 museum collections. He has executed 20 large public artwork commissions. By training, Eversley is an engineer, and his sleek creations in cast polyester resins and bronze, and laminated acrylics and stainless steel, frequently take the form of disks, parabolas, helices, and lenses. The reflectivity of the works makes them naturally interactive.
Portals will be the largest public art installation and most ambitious project created by Eversley in recent years; upon completion, it will be added to the City of West Palm Beach’s public art program, ArtLife WPB. The selection process for the commission was managed by Related Companies executives and Culture Corps, the art advisory and creative consultancy founded by Doreen Remen and Yvonne Force Villareal.
As part of the project, the adjacent First Church of Christ, Scientist—which inspired Eversley’s Portals— will be preserved in perpetuity. Designed in the Beaux-Arts style by African American architect Julian Abele in 1928, and completed in 1929, the church remains one of the most architecturally significant historic structures in West Palm Beach. The 1.25-acre public green space in front of the new One Flagler building will be named “Julian Abele Park.” The eight sculptures comprising Portals refer to the eight columns of the church.
“Seen from afar, eight Portals rise up, from land, and out of water, shaping a graceful gate that resonates with the columns of the church. Like an arced welcoming arm, the Portals lead visitors to the heart of the site’s historical ground,” Eversley explains. “The Portals become an active third part of what is now a sculptural and architectural trilogy, one in which the number eight is a recurring theme. The aim is to inspire and draw thoughts to Abele’s masterful gestures, and to the mind that gave rise to this destination point, which now appears in a new light, and with new life. Portals signals a new beginning––an homage to Abele’s significance and his relevant, lasting contribution, which are here given renewed value and brought into the eternal light of infinite spirit.”
LEED Gold-anticipated One Flagler will feature offer 275,000 square feet of office, restaurant, roof terraces, reading room open to both the public and members of First Church of Christ Scientist, living green wall adorning its parking garage and the 1.25 acres of green space extending the waterfront greenbelt.
“By preserving the historical First Church of Christ, Scientist and creating a new monumental artwork that pays tribute to its architect, Related and Fred Eversley are presenting the City of West Palm Beach with a lasting gift,” City of West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James said. “This new park and captivating installation will be a major draw for residents, visitors and art enthusiasts.”
Related is committed to integrating arts into everyday life for communities at its properties in West Palm Beach. Examples include public art installations by world-renowned and local artists such as Yinka Shonibare CBE, Jeppe Hein, Symmetry Labs, and Shilpa Gupta and large-scale murals including RETNA, Frankie Cihi, Rico Gatson and Michael Craig-Martin at The Square, RH West Palm and 360 Rosemary.
The shape of the sculptures will act as lenses and create optical effects in the parabolic elements, as well as refractions in the surface of the water. The sculptures are made of a crystal-clear material that will be tinted with dyes, adding a violet tone. Due to their shape, the sculptures will vary in gradation from more rich color in the thicker and wider bottom to more pale at the thinner top. The angled edge surfaces will stand out as mirror-reflective signature arches in both daylight and night light.
During the daytime, Portals will change in appearance, shifting with the sunlight, weather, and time of day. The tapered surfaces of the sculptures will naturally be illuminated and more reflective due to their angle toward the sun, creating a silhouette of bright mirroring “arches” that will have a distinct and dramatic effect.
At night, Portals will be up-lit from below, so that the light travels upward through the material of the sculptures. The shell will be luminous throughout, but brighter at the bottom and fading toward the top, adding a range of violet to indigo hues.
About Fred Eversley
Fred Eversley (b. 1941, Brooklyn, New York) is a key figure in the development of contemporary art from Los Angeles during the postwar period. Now based in New York after living and working in Venice Beach, California for fifty years, Eversley synthesizes elements from several art historical movements associated with Southern California, including Light and Space, though his work is the product of a pioneering vision all his own, informed by lifelong studies on the timeless principles of light, space, time, and gravity.
Prior to his becoming an artist, Eversley was an engineer who designed and built high-intensity acoustical laboratories for NASA, the French atomic energy commission, the European space laboratory, and other major aerospace companies. His science and technology background helped develop his interest in the parabolic shape; the only shape that concentrates all forms of energy to a single focal point.
Fred Eversley is the subject of a solo exhibition, “Fred Eversley: Reflecting Back (the World),” at the Orange County Museum of Art, Costa Mesa, California, on view through January 15, 2023, and will be the subject of forthcoming solo exhibitions at David Kordansky Gallery, New York, in May 2023 and at the Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College, Claremont, California, in 2024.
The first monograph dedicated to Eversley’s work was published by David Kordansky Gallery in 2022.
Eversley lives and works in New York.