PINK

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Client: Philadelphia International Airport, City of Philadelphia

Location: Philadelphia, PA, United States

Completion date: 2013

Project Team

Architect

Emanuel Kelly and Vincent Maiello

Kelly Maiello

Other

Margot Berg and Leah Douglas

Artist

Ava Blitz

Studio Blitz

Overview

PINK is a digital Glass Tile Mosaic fabricated from 3/8 inch translucent tiles. A Philadelphia 1% for the Arts juried project, PINK was completed in 2013. Honesty to material and experimentation with process has been a constant in all of my work. Here, the placement of tiles on a digital grid is a natural progression from my work in digital photography.

Goals

PINK is an expression of my delight in the mystery and poetry of the natural world, and man’s universal place within it. By bringing that world into the busy airport, I hope to inspire a contemplative experience and an oasis for stressed travelers. The installation was part of an airport wide renovation.

PINK is unapologetically within the landscape tradition, and so accessible to all, but still very contemporary, with its flickering candy colors, and its ambiguously altered shapes and spaces that jump from surface texture to deep illusion. I enjoy playing with that edge between realism and abstraction I wanted to create a magical forest or garden, a virtual reality that you can enter, explore, and experience on different levels at different times. When observed from a distance, the people walking by seem to blend with the image, populating the leafy canopy, as they take a walk in the woods.

Process

There were no thematic or formal constraints put on the artist, so I was free to design the piece as I saw fit. My work is about the dualities of the physical, elemental nature, and the metaphoric, mystical and contemplative nature. Lines tend to blur in my work between natural history and cultural history, and the present, past and future. Some of my influences, from classical to popular culture, are Japanese woodblock prints, Chinese painting, textiles, American illustration, and visions from Maxfield Parrish to velvet painting to contemporary cinema. I think of my work in public art as a constantly changing piece of theater, interacting with the public and the elements, taking on a life of its own. I think of PINK as a stage set, a diorama, or a bit of opera. I think of fairy tales, artifice, sometimes a bit of kitsch, sometimes something more elegant. It is open to your interpretation.