Trantler: Unity Sculpture installation - Astoria, Oregon, April 2023
The sculpture slated to be installed at the Royal Nebeker Gallery on the campus of Clatsop Community College in Astoria, Oregon titled Trantler is based on combining two predominant elements in the region: the wild elk that roam the area, and the timber industry that has been a cornerstone in the Pacific Northwest since 1848. Oregon is one of the world’s great tree-growing areas so it comes natural to celebrate its contribution to the state’s economy as well as the majestic beauty of our forests. Additionally, the elk herd in Clatsop County has become quite prevalent - growing from about thirty a decade ago to around one hundred and twenty members today.
Both the timber industry and the elk herd have been sources of discussion within the community. The conversation regarding the environmental impacts of clear cutting versus its potential to diversify the local ecosystem is in debate. Concurrently, the dialogue around the elk herd being a charming attraction as opposed to the wild life creating safety issues still stands strong. This sculpture positions itself as an unbiased piece of artwork, aiming to observe the challenging aspects of human’s relationship with nature, and to promote critical thinking towards the connection between preserving our planet and protecting a healthy economy.
The goal of the project is to bring residents and visitors together in hopes of more interaction and collaboration between each other and foster unity by showcasing varying ideologies within a community in a peaceful manner.
The blended form of an elk antler and a tree is 12-feet-high and was originally installed in the courtyard of the Sweet Shop in Gearhart, Oregon, a mere fifteen miles south of Astoria. This marked Gearhart’s immersion into the Oregon Coast Public Art Trail in 2020. The Sweet Shop was identified in 2018 by members of the Clatsop County Arts Commission and volunteers working with the Oregon Coast Public Art Trail project as a potential site for a very visible piece of art.
Keri Rosebraugh was selected by Sweet Shop owner Traci Williams to design the project. “The minute they approached me to install a piece of work, I knew Keri would be perfect to create a meaningful addition to the town,” Williams said. “Not only have we been friends since fourth grade and collaborated on projects before, but I love her vision of art being a unifying force - something so important in this time and place.”
The Sweet Shop was sold in 2021 - the new owners chose to use the space differently; hence, the piece was deinstalled while deciding the location of the Trantler's new home. Upon Williams' suggestion of Clatsop Community College as the new venue, Sarah Nebeker facilitated talks with Rosebraugh and Kristin Shauk from the Royal Nebeker Gallery located on the college's campus. This led to a perfect space where the public can visit year round in the gallery's outdoor sculpture garden. Installation will take place the first week in April 2023 followed by a solo exhibition of Rosebraugh's work and ribbon cutting on April 13th at 6:00pm at the gallery.
The sculpture is constructed out of Douglas Fir, indigenous to Clatsop County, and cast bronze. The natural texture of the wood symbolizes the sublime in nature while the bronze represents the human’s hand in processing our natural resources. Above all, this piece honors unity and diversity in this region.
Companies Form 3D and Bamboo Revolution in Portland worked together to fabricate the wood portion of the sculpture while the bronze section was cast at Blue Mountain Fine Art in Baker City.
Trantler is graciously funded by the Oregon Coast Visitors Association and Travel Oregon. For more information on both organizations, please go to https://visittheoregoncoast.com/ and https://traveloregon.com/
The Royal Nebeker Gallery is located at 1651 Lexington Avenue, Astoria, Oregon 97103, on the campus of Clatsop Community College.