Client: Princeton University Chapel
Location: Princeton, NJ, United States
Completion date: 2020
Dean of the Chapel
Dr. Alison Boden
Director of Chapel Music
Princeton University Chapel
Kinetic paintings on silk express Spring transformation in this mobile commissioned for Easter of 2020. The outer suspended 55” ring is attached to a top swivel allowing the entire 85” long sculpture to turn. Each of the thirty six individual paintings also turn on individual swivels. This allows the entire sculptural piece to appear and disappear in ever changing ways as it slowly turns and interacts with the beautiful space of the chapel. The solid and serene colors in the center paintings of the sculpture become increasingly dynamic and vibrant as you move toward the outer ring of paintings.
The goals of this commission included creating a suspended piece for the center of the chapel that would celebrate Spring, Easter, and transformation, while allowing moments of transparency to collaborate with the beautiful, historic space of the chapel itself. The colors were to be bright and harmonious with the existing chapel windows and the currently installed suspended paintings on silk (also by Juanita Yoder). For continuity, it was important that the size be comparable to the 55” wide Advent wreath.
Conversations with the client, and meditative time spent in the chapel were integral parts of the design process. Dr. Alison Boden, Dean of the Princeton University Chapel, envisioned an Easter piece with bright ribbon-like color. Inspiring conversations ensued with Penna Rose, Director of Chapel Music. Penna talked about Veriditas, a term used by Hildegard of Bingen to describe hope and the greening and flowering of new life. I spent time in the chapel and took in a music meditation by Ruth Cunningham, performed in the chancel. From the synthesis of listening to the music, the client and to the chapel itself, the idea came to me for a mobile of paintings which punch through the top of a ring and appear to spin on a central axis to express hope and soulful radiance.
Due to the pandemic, installation of this piece has been delayed. The images of Fountain were shared in the Easter broadcast of the Princeton University Chapel. Dr. Boden wrote that she wonders if this piece “will always be a positive reminder of this hard period, and of the beauty that is emerging in so many places in spite of the suffering.”