Gene and Sue Flores - Big Heart
Gene Flores, American b.1935
Sue Flores, American b. 1940
Big Heart, 2009
Stainless steel and bronze, 55 x 44.5 inches

Alumni Gift

Gene Flores grew up in San Bernadino, California. One of his first studios was in the Tehachapi Mountains, overlooking the Mojave desert, from which he drew inspiration. Flores has been working with steel since 1957 and now lives in the Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts. His projects include kinetic sculptures and public installations. Gene’s wife Susan Marya Flores is an artist and furniture maker who joins her husband on large projects. She designs and produces contemporary furniture mostly constructed out of metal, occasionally incorporating upholstery, stone, glass, and turned wood in her designs.
Gene and Sue Flores were commissioned to create a heart shaped piece for the Och Fitness Center.
“We decided that the mind-body connection of the fitness center site in the context of an academic institution would be fun to explore. We quickly moved beyond valentines topics and anatomy and focused on the word ‘heart’ in our language. This is where the mind-body aspect became so interesting. Phrases that we’ve heard forever, and have forgotten the literal meaning of, show this instinctive fundamental understanding of the relationship of our feelings to our physical well being – ‘heart-stricken’, ‘heart-broken’, ‘bleeding heart’, ‘hearty’. And to our psychic well being – ‘from the heart’, ‘tender heart’, ‘warm-hearted.’
We decided to build an elegant metal heart shaped frame alternating textured stainless steel strips with broader bronze strips on which the heart words and phrases are stamped into the surface. From a distance Big Heart reads as a heart shaped sculpture. Up close it offers the viewers a pause to contemplate life’s vagaries.
-Sue Flores, 2010