The design and function of the James F. Battin U.S. Courthouse, together with the spectacular natural beauty of Montana’s landscape, inspired Monica Ponce de Leon to create Woven Voices, an ethereal sculpture that can be enjoyed from many different vantage points.  From a distance, the artwork’s overall volume conveys an idea of balance that is thematically appropriate for a courthouse.  Viewed at closer proximity, the sculpture reveals a dynamic interplay of forms, materials and textures that reflect the artist’s diverse set of visual references.  For example, the sculpture’s inflected angle and bulbous swell imply both a sense of movement and a response to natural forces, such as erosion caused by wind or water.  Ponce de Leon derived the artwork’s net-like structure from the paths of several Montana rivers, such as the Yellowstone, that flow in braided channel formations.  She based the array of Mylar cones on the bell-shaped cluster of white flowers that bloom atop bear-grass, as well as the metal ornaments that adorn Native American jingle dresses.  The artist has rendered these sources abstractly, to allow for a flexibility of meaning based on each viewer’s individual response.  Ponce de Leon describes Woven Voices as “a tribute to the people who move in and out of the courthouse on a daily basis, brought together in the pursuit of justice.”

Monica Ponce de Leon created Down River as a companion piece to her sculpture Woven Voices. Both artworks are inspired by the meandering courses of Montana rivers.


Location: Billings, Montana