It was off to Carleton U on Monday night for the public unveiling of the four finalist artworks in competition to grace the OTrain route. Recall that a percentage of all capital projects (such as this summer’s repairs and still-incomplete enhancements to the OTrain track) is to be spent on Art.
The whole competition had some unfortunate aspects to it. One, the finalists were selected while the OTrain itself was shut down. So none of the artists actually stood on the Carleton U platform, or Dow’s Lake station, or even Greenboro. None could walk up close to their installation site.
It became apparent talking to the four artist finalists that none were regular OTrain users. Indeed, I suspect none had actually ridden it at all. They all described locations for their art in relationship to parking lots and road overpasses, not platforms. They certainly haven’t experienced Dow’s Lake on a cold spring day, or Carleton Station in February or Greenboro on a hot day in August. Does this make for a certain incongruous disconnect?
It took almost ten minutes at the start of visiting the show to determine which stations were included for the artwork. The artists were vague about this; they didn’t know the names of the five stations, but after considerable prompting it turns out the stations eligible for artwork were Carling, Carleton, and Greenboro. (City staff manning the desks weren’t any better informed).
Three artists did stand-alone artwork, of the “look at that, it’s art” type; and one did an installation piece whereby the art forms part of the station itself.
Judith Berry did the installation piece, using Carling Station as its one site. She proposed coating the concrete walls on the side of the cut with porcelain tiles, water cut with geometric shapes and florals. In these pictures the tiles were predominately gray:
but she has changed the colour scheme so that the background colour is now a soft yellow, as shown in this sample of materials and colour:
Berry has also done the floor mosaic in front of the two storey curtain wall of the Meredith Centre on Cecil Road in Chelsea.
Stuart Kinmond did a colourful piece called Locomotion, for installation on the east side of the Carleton Station. Bright red is both the OC Transpo colour and one of the Carleton colours.The current OTrain is bright red, but will the new trains running in the spring be red? Here are some photoshop illustrations:
The tall graphics on a stick would also help wayfinding the Carleton Station since its presence is understated despite being in the centre of campus. I thought this sculpture could also be applied very well at some other semi-hidden stations, like Carling or indeed most every station. Kimmond chose the Carleton location because it is the busiest station on the line. While it would give the city engineers a fit, the sculpture might also be appropriate located between the two tracks.
Marcus Kucey-Jones proposed a carving from a single block of Indiana Limestone. The main frame of the block would be a book, with bookmark, about 7′ tall and 3′ thick. A life-size human cutout would be freestanding nearby.
Note too that Carleton’s crest is an open book. Marcus is probably best known in Ottawa for the Wellington Marbles sculptures in Hintonburg and co-author of the billowing glass globules on the Somerset lightposts.
Artist Shayne Dark submitted some tubular metal sticks. He had a photo book on display illustrating his many stick theme and variation installations. For the Carleton Station, these would be freestanding (shown here on a generic background picture, for scale):
And at Greenboro and Carling they would be wall mounted:
Mr Dark has numerous stick installations; in Toronto he has a 50′ tall set of red sticks in front of TD Bank Centre downtown.
You can express your opinion in the comments section (click the link at the top of the story). The project coordinator from the city will be reading your comments.