Ryon Gesink

The Numinous Eye Arch

Fire Installation

Ryon Gesink

Oakland, CA

Gesink is a STEMarts LAB workshop leader at Taos Magnet School

The Numinous Eye Arch sculpture is a large steel archway with a looming giant spotlight eye at its apex. It gazes impassively in mysterious stoic surveillance, with a dozen torches along its length creating a dome of golden firelight. Some 18 years ago I began to feel a strong urge to create a sort of gateway or portal for people to pass through, beyond which one enters an unfamiliar hallucinatory world and goes on to encounter dangers and challenges emerging from one’s own subconscious. Could be a Gate to Hell or a Gate to Heaven, depending…Or something far more obscure and multidimensional. Perhaps it reveals to you what you bring to it.

The sculpture has emerged as a highly visceral metaphor for achieving what I had previously considered impossible. So if the Numinous Eye means anything beyond an attempt to frame some of the mystery of the cosmos through its totemic gateway, it perhaps also serves as a monument to its own painful birth, and my passing into a new phase of life.

About the artist: I gravitated to art creation at a very young age. Like many boys I became obsessed with dinosaurs and spent years perfecting drawings of them, in my home of Michigan (born 1972) and later in Miami and Pennsylvania. My family returned to Michigan in 1984 and I kept drawing and painting and developed interests in writing, poetry and music. I showed a handiness with tools and building as well as an excitement with putting on immersive pyrotechnic events, and would stage them deep in the forests of Michigan. In time I discovered San Francisco’s Beat writers and cultural heritage, as well as its underground machine and robotic art, and decided I must Head Out West at the tender age of 21.

San Francisco powerfully fed my young mind, and after a few years of detours I settled in the Bay Area in 1998 for good. I discovered the Burning Man festival and decided I must learn to weld and build large sculptural work. I became involved in the buildout of an industrial art space in Berkeley known as The Shipyard, and landed my first metal job for sculptor Archie Held in Richmond. I apprenticed there for several years, learning to build high end stainless and bronze water sculptures for private and public installation. At the same time I was vigorously building my own futuristic tech art, art vehicles and a giant steel archway, “The Numinous Eye”, all of which made it out to the desert festival and were displayed at many local events.

In the mid-oughts I decided to try my hand at self employed design/fabrication, which I still do today, as well as creating my own personal industrial art and a furniture line. I’ve done countless sculptural fire performance and gallery shows as well as collaborations with other established artists. In 2010 I served as project manager/crew leader and lead fabricator for San Jose artist Marta Thoma on her enormous public installation “Watersource”, installed in Goodyear, Arizona. I’ve worked with clients and collaborators on mobile art vehicles and sculpture work, such as Five Ton Crane, Brian Goggin, All Power Labs, Kinetic Steamworks, theater groups, short films and video and many others contexts. I’ve shown my own art at multiple Burning Man events, Maker Faires, The Crucible’s Fire Arts Festivals, in Hawaii, the Chabot Space & Science Center, at Colorado fire festivals and elsewhere. An art vehicle I built features as the cover photo of A. Leo Nash’s photography book “Burning Man: Art in the Desert”. I am currently based in Oakland at St. Louise Studios.

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