Without Boundaries / Around we Go; Our Sky – Orrery sculpture at Peabody Park / Skinner Center
Tucked against the train trestle on Cooper near Central, three-acre Peabody Park is a sleeper favorite of Midtowners and their children. The park was established in the early 1900s and underwent a renovation around 2000. It contains a popular splash park, a playground, a historic pavilion… and a pair of intriguing sculptures by Memphis artist Yvonne Bobo, titled “Without Boundaries/Around We Go.” Memphis Park Services commissioned the Peabody Park arch and sculpture in 2003, and Clark/Dixon Architects consulted with Bobo. Reflecting on the celestial theme of the sculptures, she says, “I chose it because it is something that all people can relate to: we all gaze at the moon, search the stars for answers, stand in awe during an eclipse, gaze at comets. The sky affects us all.” The 17-foot solar system inside the park is crafted solely of stainless steel.
About the Artist
Yvonne began her career by assisting other artists on public projects around Memphis, but soon began applying for her own grants, which resulted in some of her first commissions as lead artist. Early public art projects include the Raymond Skinner Center and Peabody Park, followed by The Cancer Survivor Park, Brewster Elementary, LeBonheur Children’s Hospital and others.
Yvonne’s art focuses on the interaction between invention and nature. Her wind activated art captures the playful character of the wind, and creates a constantly changing experience for the viewer. Although metal is her primary medium, mixed media is her true love, combining glass, Yvonne Bobo steel, wood, and fabrics. She is designer, engineer and fabricator.
The artist’s formal education consists of a B.A. in Art History from Boston University, but even more telling in her work is the extensive travel and apprenticeships in various craftsman trades, learning ancient methods of carving, cabinetry and water-gilding in locales as exotic as Syria, the Azores or Vienna.
In her most recent work, Yvonne has really captured her personality and varied skill set. "Gyroscopic", "Mobius", "Spiral Rising", "Murmuration", "Rhapsody", and "Kaleidoscope" are grand endeavors with dynamic, sometimes unconventional and hard to grasp designs. Mixing elements of texture, movement, patina, with thoughtful colors, shapes, materials makes each commission a personal, unique display. She now has sculptures nationally, with installations in Cleveland, Boston, and Knoxville with future sites from California to Florida.