Sculptures in motion at Paradise Ridge Winery
The new exhibit at Paradise Ridge Winery represents a decade of collaboration between the owners of the winery and the Voigt Family Sculpture Foundation. Titled “Momentum,” this outdoor feast for the eyes features the work of regional artists Ned Kahn, Catherine Daley, Doug Unkrey, Kristi Lucas and Mark Malmberg.
All of the sculptures in the new exhibit are kinetic motion machines that twirl and spin in the breeze. Curator Briona Hendren said that Mark Malmberg’s solar powered sculptures are particularly fun.
“They have a mechanism with counterweights so they move back and forth and turn and they make these little chirping noises, kind of like birds,” she said. “In the night they go to sleep and then sort of wake up in the daylight. While I was at the site this morning they were just starting to wake up because they were getting charged by the sun. It’s so cute hearing them begin to wake up for the day.”
Hendren said that several of the pieces create sounds that draw visitor’s through the grove in an auditory way. Ned Kahn’s work is powered by the wind, and Hendren said that his signature panels move in through the breeze and catch the sun.
“You really get to experience wind patterns and the sunlight,” she said. She noted that he has one piece installed that is a bit different from his other work. “It’s bamboo pieces and when they shift they make really beautiful low tones.”
Kristi Lucas always incorporates every piece of material she buys into her artwork, minimizing any waste. “Lucas does these really beautiful pieces suspended in a tree with aluminum panels that gently move with the wind,” Hendren said. “As they move they reflect the sun and it's really lovely.”
Sonoma Academy art teacher Catherine Daley’s work once graced the Plaza, part of an exhibition of sculptures called “A Delicate Balance” coordinated by the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art last year. Her “Aurora III” of dozens of shimmering rods stood outside the Visitor’s Bureau. Hendren described the work of Daley as reminiscent of wind and water.
“They’re soft and elegant, which is interesting because they’re metal,” Hendren said. “One of her pieces has long poles that move and gently clang against each other and it’s really, really lovely with this gentle chiming.”
A Doug Unkrey installation has incorporated a chime along with a swing. The piece is human activated by a person sitting on the swing and creating a gentle chiming. “We’re positioning that so that it will look out westward towards the mountain and it’s just a moment for a little bit of play and to just be present in the space around us and the beauty of our area,” Hendren said.
The space itself is worthy of a moment of appreciation. “Marijke’s Grove is a very intimate oak grove that has a really beautiful walking path,” Hendren said of the winery property.
The “Momentum” exhibit is meant to honor the 10th year of collaboration between Paradise Ridge Winery and Voigt Family Sculpture Foundation on installations in Marijke’s Grove. The exhibits installed are displayed for a couple of years and then replaced by new art pieces. The current exhibit will run through the summer of 2024.
The exhibit is also a celebration of Paradise Ridge Winery’s founder Walter Byck, who will turn 90 this year. Byck proposed to his wife Marijke in a sculpture grove in the Netherlands and later recreated the magic of that day with a local sculpture garden, Marijke’s Grove, dedicated to his wife’s memory.
Daughter Sonia Byck-Barwick described her mother as a woman who loved giving back to the community. In keeping with that generosity, Marijke’s Grove supports the arts with free sculpture shows, open seven days a week.
The Voigt Family Sculpture Foundation believes that art should be accessible to all in outdoor, natural settings and touchable. Marijke’s Grove is the perfect setting for such an endeavor.
Judy Voigt, co-founder the Voigt Family Sculpture Foundation described the show as a celebration of art, family and persistence. It’s a fitting title for an exhibit on Paradise Ridge, where grapevines and artwork survived the 2017 Tubbs fire that destroyed nine buildings on the property.
Byck-Barwick said, “My father, Walter Byck, felt it was important to rebuild, especially for the community. We really wanted to show the community that it’s possible to overcome the obstacles and to come back. If it’s important to my father, it’s important to the family.”