Stephan Balkenhol lives and works in Karlsruhe, Germany, and Meisenthal, France. His work in rough-hewn painted wood and cast metal has contributed to a rediscovery of the figure, especially as it relates to architecture. Balkenhol frequently works with scale and context in unexpected ways, representing people, animals and sometimes combinations of the two.
For his commissioned work, installed in the light-filled atrium of the William J. Rutter Center in October 2005, Balkenhol carved four standing figures out of the trunk of a single tree. Each quarter section of the tree is carved into a figure, integral with its base. The figures, elevated and outsized, facing in different directions, mediate between human scale and the scale of the 80-foot-tall atrium space. They express its function as a place where different people cross paths.