Pod Trees for Naylor, 2002
Robert Cole (1939-2013)
12' h x 15' diameter
The two stainless-steel hand-forged trees with machine-spun pods pay homage to the surrounding landscape. The community wanted the Washington, D.C. artist, Robert Cole, who is known for his superb forged metal techniques, to create a work of art that reintroduced elements of nature into the built environment of the station.
Robert Cole lived many lives as an artist. He studied architecture at Virginia Tech, but then changed colleges and majors, first to theater then to painting. He started a sculpture career by building models for home furnishings, then began working on abstract and figurative pieces in polyester resin. He built and designed stringed instruments for twelve years and carved wood and stone. During the latter years of his life, Mr. Cole employed the direct metal technique. He has claimed the technique satisfied his need to work in a medium that can reach a large scale, survive in the outdoors, and be made entirely in his own studio by hand. He has many works in the D.C. area and was a part of the U Street "renaissance" having sold sculptures, furniture, and functional sculptures to restaurant and club owners. Businesses and homeowners in his neighborhood have also purchased his work, and he placed several large sculptures in parks around town. Along with two other sculptors, he started the first DC Sculpture Park, apart from the Smithsonian.
Mr. Cole passed away in 2013.