With the help of gravity and a starting force, whether by a slight breeze or the light touch of a human hand, the mass and weight of the sculpture’s parts balance playfully in Homage to Silence. Late artist Jerome Kirk had a background in technical engineering which becomes visible in the precision of his outdoor installations. The counterbalancing motion of the various parts gives proof of meticulous engineering. Kirk’s aesthetics are playful yet elegant, and strongly influenced by legendary artist Alexander Calder.
Jerome Kirk was born in Detroit in 1923. After serving in World War II, he received his B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from MIT in 1951. With the placement of over sixty public and privately owned outdoor sculptures worldwide, from his piece at Storm King, Mountainville, New York towering over 45 feet high to Quest at Space Technology Laboratories, Redondo Beach CA weighing over six tons, technical and spiritual discoveries for Kirk were endless. Akin to his influences, Alexander Calder, David Smith, and Harry Bertoia, Kirk’s dedication to his craft had set new standards for sculpture, specifically kinetic sculpture. Kirk passed away in January of 2019.
“Natural forces provide fixed parameters within which I have to work, but the forms and shapes are largely intellectually and emotionally derived. A static sculpture would not change if moved from the face of the earth, however, kinetic sculpture would behave very differently on the moon or [in] outer space.” – Jerome Kirk