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Viking by Steve Jensen

Larson Gallery showcases artist with campus ties

Steve Jensen: BÖTS on display March 11 – April 15, 2023

Artist Steve Jensen comes from a long tradition of Norwegian fishermen and boat builders. His current body of work, “Böts,” explores the universal image of the boat and its representation of journeying.

Jensen creates carved wooden and metal sculptures that draw inspiration from growing up on his father’s fishing boat. His artworks are representative of Norwegian carving, boat-building and fishing traditions.

“I come from a long tradition of Norwegian fishermen and boat builders,” he said. “The chisels I use have been passed from my grandfather to my father to me. The craftsmanship of my work speaks to the universality and the timelessness of carving.”

In his “Böts” exhibit, Jensen says the boat is meant to symbolize a voyage or journey including a voyage to the other side or the journey to the unknown.

A working artist for over 30 years, Jensen has art pieces installed on YVC’s campuses through the Washington State Arts Commission Art in Public Places — a program that purchases and cares for artworks in state buildings, colleges, universities and schools throughout Washington. His pieces include “Yakima River Carvings” and  “Pacific Winds” on the Yakima Campus and “Second Wave” on the Grandview Campus.

“Yakima River Carvings,” a trio of sculptures located outside the Weston D. Brown Dental Hygiene Building, are part of a body of sculptures inspired by the landscapes experienced by Jensen. He uses abstract forms, shapes and patterns to depict seas, forests and mountains.

“The abundant beauty of the world’s available natural resources and the precariousness of the relationship that we maintain with them inspire me,” he notes. “It is this relationship that powers my carvings.”

“Pacific Winds,” located near the east end of Prior Hall, is inspired by the flow and movement of water. Rising up above the viewer’s head on a concrete column, this piece also suggests the quality of sea air in the Pacific Northwest.

“The sea is ingrained in my heritage,” Jensen said. “My Norwegian father, and his father before him, were fishermen. I grew up on and around the water. The sea is likewise a part of our collective heritage. It is the life force in our world.”

The power and beauty of the sea as a wave hits the shore inspired his bronze sculpture “Second Wave,” located in the entryway of Grandview Main. The composition highlights the curving flow and movement of water.

“We are excited to host an exhibit featuring Jensen’s profound exploration of our world’s natural resources via art,” says Larson Gallery Director David Lynx.

Visit the Larson Gallery’s website to learn more about upcoming shows and artists.