a woven linear pattern referencing the humanity we bring to an object with our individual point of view
Long before this vessel joined lake and sky,
Portside afternoons were spent cradled by the side shell
Singing and cursing, my brothers fused this geometric iron husk
Folded in impossible corners with fans humming, Pushing away chalky smoke-thick air
Come, place your head on the hull, hear its heartbeat
The tune of many strong hands measuring and shaping a pattern.
Mirrored forward and aft, 132 frames,
A triangle-rich corridor intended for strength and efficiency,
Achieving grace through process and passage.
The humanity below the surface; all the strands, all the hands pulling tight,
Illuminating the visual beauty around us.
Individuals, over four seasons through hard work, skill and humour
brought this vessel to water and life.
The vessel is more than its surface, and through this work I hope to have the audience, the travellers experience the boat in a less utilitarian light. I would like them to see the humanity we bring to an object with our individual point of view. We create a persona for it, and it becomes almost human in our eyes, holding positive or negative feelings through our interactions with it.
Check out the links below for time lapse build of the M.V. Columbia the inspiration for Looking Aft and the vessel it will be installed on.
Watch the build in dry dock: http://www.waterbridgesteel.com/timelapseland5.mp4
Time-lapse build on the water: http://www.waterbridgesteel.com/timelapsewater.mp4
Looking Aft: a woven linear pattern referencing the 132 frames of the vessel is industry geometry, produced, by design, for function. I found the time spent working in the hull to be visually striking, and ideal for communicating a concept I have been developing throughout the ten months I spent welding the new ferry at Waterbridge Steel. Our experiences and emotional states reflect how we view our surroundings, and I present my memories of construction as positive and visually inspiring. This is partially due to the novelty it held for me but also to the experience that came from the camaraderie among the workers.
The title, Looking Aft, in naval terminology, refers to looking toward the back or stern of the vessel. In this case, it could also refer to the line of sight that inspired the weaving pattern as well as looking back over the journey of construction.
In 2006, I started investigating and developing the weaving of steel into sculpture, finding the balance between masculine materials and the sometimes rigid lines of the medium with feminine process and the fluid lines created by weaving. As a welder, I have had the chance to fuse steel in a variety of ways and find that the juxtaposition of a traditional craft approach with a modern medium brings something new to the table of sculpture in general. I started this journey with the steel strapping used in shipping. The first sculptures emerged as organically and emotionally referenced forms. Looking Aft will take weaving in the other direction, this time using flat bar for strength and durability, with an emphasis on pattern-directed shape. The concept will be communicated through a woven linear form, drawing inspiration from industry geometry, produced by design for function, translated into a woven repeating triangle-rich pattern. The viewer will experience strength, teamwork, and have a feeling of the care and skill that went into the construction of the hull. The work will have a clear coating so the viewer will know that it is constructed from stainless steel.
The sculpture will be installed on the houseworks of the ferry, which is on the second level wall above the restrooms and below the wheel house. It will stretch twelve feet long and be three feet tall, viewable from most angles of the car deck.
The Village of Nakusp had a Culture Scan done a few years ago and one of the recommendations was for public sculpture that would attract tourists. The Arrow Lakes Arts Council has recently purchase a sculpture for the Nakusp waterfront for this purpose. Looking Aft will serve as a seed in the minds of visitors that the area is arts-focused and will encourage them to seek out local artist studios and stay to enjoy our local culture.
Looking Aft will bring Public Art to rural BC, and a population with generally very limited access to visual arts. Thanks to the installation location we have a varied captive audience. You can’t get from Revelstoke to Nakusp without taking the ferry. It is Highway 23. This means that for 30 minutes, a wide spectrum of people from all backgrounds, incomes, and geographical locations will have the opportunity to take the time to experience something new. Last year the two current ferries saw 377,000 passengers, a number that will increase with the new vessel.
Artists are often told that they will have to leave their rural areas and go to the city in order to gain recognition. Whenever a local artist has works displayed in the community, the myth that only the city can provide opportunity is dispelled. This encourages artists to remain within their valleys, staying connected to the cultures and families that created them.