• 61” H x 10” W x 10” D (155cm H x 25cm W x 25cm D)
• private collection, North Vancouver, BC, Canada
Michael Binkley has carved several pure abstract compositions using a particular type of basalt, called “ribbon basalt” that is quarried in the Columbia River basin between the states of Washington and Oregon, USA. Basalt formed eons ago as a molten mass that cooled in such a way as to form hexagonal columns. Over the centuries, water has crept between the column joints and left an oxidized rind. Since not all joints are perfect, splinters, or ribbons have formed between many columns and these are harvested by the quarrymen and are wonderful for abstract sculpture.
Binkley has had a long appreciation for Japanese-American artist, Isamu Noguchi, who often used basalt columns for his work and he has influenced Binkley to work abstract forms in basalt, too.
“Spire” was a long basalt ribbon that had a very sharp point at one end. The stone’s shape inspired Binkley to an upright composition and he worked the jagged side and bottom edges down to become smooth surfaces that drew the viewer’s eye upwards to the pointed peak. These surfaces are polished to a high sheen and expose the very dark grey interior colour of the basalt. Binkley has left several of the original rind surfaces for contrast, and they give the appearance of metallic bronze. This contrast of texture, colour and illusion of metal-on-stone add to the appeal of the composition.
Binkley mounted the sculpture on a base of basalt from the Squamish, BC, Canada area that is a much lighter grey colour. The base’s sides are polished smooth, but the top is jagged.