June 5, 2018

IN THE WIND

Mesmerizing kinetic art exhibition at the Dallas Arboretum

Wind. Harnessed in sails and turbines, it can transport us and provide power. In violent storms, it has the power to devastate. It is also the force that moves the mesmerizing sculptures of Lyman Whitaker, the world’s most recognized kinetic artist.

Whitaker’s exquisite sculptures in motion grace private collections, corporate campuses, and public spaces throughout the United States. He brings his aesthetic Dallas this summer in a new exhibition at the Dallas Arboretum, Wind Sculptures in Motion: The Kinetic Art of Lyman Whitaker.

The 140 Whitaker pieces—ranging from in height from five to 24 feet—are spread throughout 66-acres of the botanical garden on White Rock Lake. Inspired by natural elements (plants, flames, spiraling DNA helixes, etc.) the structures draw viewers  into a meditative state as moving elements revolve in tandem with air currents.

Lyman has been fascinated with Ferris wheels, waterwheels, and images of the galaxy since his earliest days. “Even when I was a kid, I liked the wind,” he says. “It is mysterious and a little dangerous.”

The last three decades of the Utah-based artist’s 50-year career have been dedicated to crafting the copper and aluminum structures that have become his signature work. The secret to their spin? One side of each blade-like component is more aerodynamic than the other, causing the surfaces turn gracefully on slender columns.

Though they move like delicate blooms in the breeze, they sculptures are remarkably sturdy. In 2005, pieces on the Florida coast withstood the 80-mile per hour force of Hurricane Katrina. There is strength, as well as beauty, in being designed to yield. —Valerie Jarvie

The Details: The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, 8525 Garland Road. Exhibition on view through July 31. dallasarboretum.org