Anyone who regularly drives north on I-680 has probably thought about that huge metal sculpture that sits atop the sign for Bishop Ranch.
The sculpture, Folded Circle Two Rings, was done by San Francisco artist Fletcher Benton.
That massive steel construction has been there for almost 30 years and is part of his folded circle ring series.
Benton has worked primarily in large metal sculptures. He has been described by critic Carter Ratcliff as "an artist who reconciles apparent opposites."
The artist remembered the Bishop Ranch piece in particular because it was one of his first commissioned works.
The idea was to create a monument along I-680 and Benton was chosen specifically because he was based in the Bay Area. Benton was given free rein to do what he liked, and there's no real association between the piece and the business park.
In a 1989 interview with art historian Paul Karlstrom, Benton said, "The Folded Square and Folded Circle works were my first steps outside of the kinetic world." He set himself a problem: to begin with a two-dimensional "given," a flat slab of steel, and to find his way into "the three-dimensional world." The rules were strict. There was to be no "adding to or subtracting from. . . . All I could do was cut, fold out, and redesignate the parts."
Benton, who graduated in with a master of fine arts from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in 1956, has been based in the Bay Area since 1959 and taught at the San Francisco Art Institute and San Jose State. He's been the recipient of numerous awards. In 1993, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Rio Grande in Rio Grande, Ohio, and a Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award f