Location: #8 Located between Park Tower and the Westin South Coast Plaza.
Charles O. Perry, an American architectural sculptor with an impressive record of exhibitions and commissions, has created “The Ram” a 20-foot-tall, 7-ton, bright yellow, steel abstraction. It was the first sculpture in the area and it remains a colorful center of attention in front of the Imperial Bank building. Rising skyward at a slant, “The Ram’s” triangular volume dips back down again before completing its airborne gesture.
The sculpture’s title and form suggest that Perry was inspired by animal horns, but he has taken the idea so dramatically into the realm of abstraction that it literally rises above any reference to nature. As we walk around the towering yellow form, it seems to rearrange itself in a changing array of configurations. Seen from one side, the loop seems to spin off the tall base; from another, it curves neatly around the triangular spire.
Perry, who was trained and practived as an architect before devoting himself to sculpture, customarily works intuitively with geometric form and designs his work for specific environments. The virtue of this approach and the strength of his understanding of architectural volume are obvious. “The Ram” is an uplifting aesthetic statement that easily holds its own against the towering buildings around it.
Charles O. Perry – The Ram
Bio: (1929 ~ ) Helena, Montana. Charles O. Perry is a creator, an artist of many dimensions, who ponders the wonderful mysteries of the universe. His large scale and monumental sculptures celebrate and question the laws of nature. It is his intuitive investigation of nature’s variables that provides the springboard for many of Perry’s concepts. Believing that sculpture must stand on its own merit without need of explanation, Perry’s work has an elegance of form that masks the mathematical and scientific complexity of its genesis.
Perry has always extolled the beauties of nature and the nature of materials. Beginning with watercolors of his native Montana, inventing equipment to improve his tour of duty in Korea, celebrating Japanese reverence for natural materials in architecture and returning to America to study art and architecture at Yale University in 1954, he has embraced the “what irs”. While Perry was at Yale it was the Chairman of the Art School, Joseph Albers., who encouraged Perry to play with materials and to “di~cover their true nature”. As a student, Perry invented a complex building brick that needed no mortar and was unrestricted by the limits of size. This mathematically based form was the result of wondering whether the rhombus shape could be changed to become something else. The concept was intuitive, the” result was visual art. The piece was later shown at Spoleto’s Festival, 1969, in Spoleto, Italy.
‘When I set off to be an artist, I would avoid the arbitrary, esteem the orders of God in Nature, make things that were beautiful, try to make things that appeared to have no author, things you thought you had seen before; entwined with mathematics, geometry, topography, spinning, interlocking, always saying, ‘Thank you, God’.”
The Piece: In 1979, The Ram was the first sculpture to be placed in the area. The towering twenty-foot, seven-ton steel sculpture is painted a brilliant yellow. It is located in Town Center Park near Park Tower. The piece was chosen by Henry T. Segerstrom for the people of Orange County. The sculpture’s title and form suggest that Perry was inspired by animal horns, but he has taken the idea so dramatically into .the realm of abstraction that it literally rises above any reference to nature. Mr. Perry designed the piece “to fit the place and the people for which it was intended.”
- On occasion, Perry designs other objects of art such as a collection of jewelry and silver for Tiffany, NY and puzzles sold through the Museum of Modern Art. A chess set composed of two tubes that when taken apart contain all the game pieces is in the Design Collection of MoMA.
- In recent years, Perry has lectured on mathematics and art in conferences throughout the world.