Sculpture surprised, but now it pleases

David Tonnesen’s “Torso” sculpture adorns the Rose Institute’s yard on Elm Street. Owner Ayn Rose had envisioned a classic Greek form. (Photo: Alex Mavradis)

David Tonnesen’s “Torso” sculpture adorns the Rose Institute’s yard on Elm Street. Owner Ayn Rose had envisioned a classic Greek form. (Photo: Alex Mavradis)

A stone’s throw from mundane Star Market on Elm Street, in a well-tended garden, there is a form of pure energy and stainless steel lifting from the earth in a graceful arc of flight.

Ayn Rose, owner of “ Torso,” hopes people will view the piece as a reflection of what she does at the Rose Institute, which offers massage and holistic healing, but primarily an approach to yoga that teaches how the body can use neglected muscles.

The institute began in a book of intentions, a collection of ideas, drawings and clippings Rose put together to help her more clearly picture her goals. She envisioned a small garden with a feminine form; the figure there now is not the classic Greek form in that vision.

She trusted the artist, though, and is delighted with the results.

That may be because the artist, David Tonnesen, says he takes a lot of his inspiration from his clients and wants his art to be a reflection of who his clients are.

Tonnesen is a longtime member and resident of the Brickbottom artists’ community in Somerville. He started out creating jewelry, but his pieces kept getting larger. Tonnesen says his shop mate, Obie Simonis, encouraged him to explore the larger medium of sculpture. Tonnesen, working in light and metal, has since produced more than 40 larger pieces, including the signature fish outside Legal Sea Food’s Boston headquarters.

“Torso” is less literal.

“All of us cling to preconceived notions of our limitation. At the Rose Institute, we promise to guide, push, coach or battle you into letting them go,” says Rose’s mission statement, making the soaring sculpture about breaking through boundaries, reaching toward dreams and aspirations.

Although Rose has been teaching yoga for 26 years, she opened the doors of the institute and installed “Torso” a little over five years ago. The house is a work in progress. She replaced the concrete in the front yard with blue stone, changed the fence and picked plants for the garden in cool blue tones. She hopes the community sees her garden and the sculpture as a welcoming landmark.

“Torso” can be viewed at 134 Elm St. The exhibit is always open.

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