Client: AdventHealth for Women
Location: Orlando, FL, United States
Completion date: 2018
Cathy Broski Clay
In a 80-foot curved corridor, a 30-foot long installation depicts the seven days of creation, an interpretation of holy scripture. The artwork incorporates specific elements from each day of creation, telling the story in way that invites the viewer to participate in its retelling. It is a coherent single installation, balanced in symmetry, harmonious in scale, and appealing in its depiction of recognizable icons: light and dark, day and night, waters and heavens, earth and sea, creatures of the waters and skies, creatures of the earth, and humankind in God’s image.
The disparate elements are brought together with a careful yet loose arrangement of dozens of variously stained wood veneer squares. The sun and moon incorporate layers of cut, etched, and powder-coated aluminum. The sea creatures are cut and printed aluminum. The tree is an assemblage of carved and stained wood, with leaf-forms made from cut sheets of painted acrylic that are both solid and translucent. The human figures, recalling scripture, are sculptures made of clay, rich in texture and color. The installation is flanked with invocation of the source texts, starting with the first three words of Genesis, “In the beginning….”
The site for the artwork is a concave wall of a long curved corridor. The wall faces exterior glazing, so light conditions depend on the time of day and the season of the year. The corridor serves as a transition between a children’s hospital and a women’s hospital, an opportunity to address multiple audiences and to formulate a common experience bound by the namesake and fundamental belief that lends the Seventh-day Adventist Church its name.
To reward the space experience of viewers who are walking by it on their way toward others destinations, the installation incorporates a wide range of media with a wide range of textures, and combines precisely drawn straight and curved lines with scattered and overlapping layers and surfaces. The centerpieces comprise a tree of carved wood and ceramic human figures, their media thus literal in their representation of forms.
The artist John Knott conceived and designed the overall composition with its combination of many elements into a coherent whole. He coordinated the fabrication and production of nearly every element with Skyline Art. Only the ceramic human figures were provided by a second artist, Cathy Broski, who had the benefit of a completely imagined setting and scale for her commission.
Skyline Art begin with the basic concept to depict the Biblical creation story in non-linear form for a corridor setting. Artist John Knott proposed a modular installation grounded within a “tapestry” of tinted wood blocks, which earned the client’s approval and pointed the way forward.
His solution would encapsulate all the elements of the Seven Days without requiring definite boundaries, provide transitions among them through subtle shifts in hues and values across the composition, as well as address the challenge of installing work on a curved wall by assembling and installing each of the dozens of element separately, rather than fixing them on flat panels.
The tapestry, presented as an assembly of wood squares at multiple depths, establishes a motif by combining natural materials and rational geometry, seen in the geometric abstraction of th sun, the complex etched texture of the moon, the smooth carved wooded tree crowned with painted, cut plexiglass foliage, and animal figures in cut aluminum and steel.
The installation also draws upon other installations in the neighboring pavilions, the sea turtles from the ground floor of the Children’s Pavilion, not 100 yards away, and the deer and fawn figuring within in the Women’s Pavilion’s neonatal intensive care unit.
Given the site conditions of the corridor, viewers may approach the installation from either end. Their experience of the artwork is not bound or directed by a linear sequence of days. The celestial forms anchor each end of the collage, while the center is held by a scene of the first family.