Client: St. Mary's Regional Hospital
Location: Jefferson City, MO, United States
Completion date: 2014
Emil Frei & Associates
The Lawrence Group
The mosaic is 239’’ in length and composed of 15 panels, each framed in ebonized white oak curved to the radius of the wall. Materials include enameled glass smalti, gold smalti, stone tesserae, and aluminum. As visitors move laterally across the mosaic, its vertical panels measure their horizontal gait. Situated in the Main Lobby & Entrance, it is visible to the exterior from multiple approaches, welcomes visitors into the shelter of the hospital, and draws them to the chapel from throughout the entire building.
Art for public spaces was seen as an integral part of the overall design of the hospital. Their mission statement says, “Through our exceptional healthcare services, we reveal the healing presence of God.” St. Mary’s Regional Health Center, an SSM facility, requested an image that reflected their spirituality and heritage. The Mosaic Wall visualizes the SSM mission statement as a landscape; it depicts a sunrise/sunset and calls forth the poetic associations of lightness and darkness, beginning and end, and life and death. Because the architecture gives countless views of the surrounding natural landscape, the mosaic references nature in a more subtle way. The lower portion symbolizes “healthcare services.” It depicts the landscape in a desaturated language suggestive of medical imaging, marked by a “horizontal blur,” as in a sonogram. The upper portion symbolizes “the healing presence of God.” The sun transforms the landscape around it into a brilliant and arresting field of interpenetrating colors. Here, vertical forms become less distinct, merging into one another with the sun at their center.
The artist began collaboration with the designer, Beth Trueblood, and the SSM Design Team prior to the new facility's construction. Beth Trueblood and SSM Design Team made several visits to the studio to the artist and staff during production. This allowed all parties to the ability to respond to one another and make any appropriate design adjustments. As a result, the mosaic design and the architecture which received it were customized to fit each other.