Adam Brent’s Through Peaks and Valleys

An interdisciplinary artist, Adam Brent is interested in producing public sculpture that is architectural, interactive, and functional. With this interest, Brent provokes questions about the way that fine art has been traditionally understood as a useless object. Brent’s public sculpture design for Jamaica Flux, Through Peaks and Valleys, demonstrates a response that intertwines art with everyday life.

The sculpture is a modular bench measuring approximately 7 feet by 10 feet that is made from recycled plastic. It resembles a rural landscape of rolling hills as its top surface is composed of planes at various angles incised with a pattern of topographical lines. When the bench is stacked, the modular forms create a cube and when extended, side by side, create a brightly colored undulating structure.

Brent designed this sculpture for the commercial setting located at Parsons Boulevard and Jamaica Avenue in Queens. The prefabricated bench, with its dynamic form and color, aims at disrupting the commonality of the architecture in the shopping district, the passage of frenzied commuters, and the cluttered sidewalk with kiosks and food carts of the urban landscape. As it ruptures the urban terrain, the functional sculpture, which can serve as a bench or a set of playful building blocks, attempts to create or provide moments of pause, action, and reflection.

The design of the sculpture reflects the artist’s insight to the form and function of architectural design within an urban landscape. Colorful and durable, this rhapsodic sculpture acts as a bench, an optical interpolation, and a geometric landscape. The manufactured rural landscape of Through Peaks and Valleys reflects upon the manmade urban environment, illuminating contradictions between urban and rural landscapes while actively generating multiple meanings of art in relationship to our existence in an urban environment.

Nancy Bruno