Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Amanda Sturgeon's Rock Wall

The Pritchard Park site has many physical attributes that make it a phenomenal and unique place on Bainbridge Island. The hillside woven with trails and foliage wraps the upper edge of a stretch of beachy waterfront rarely found in the Puget Sound. Interestingly, the terrain is partially imported, a result of the capping of the former creosote facility. And at the present, both coexist in a primary way: the sandy shoreline is flanked by a chain link fence wound with razor wire to enclose the EPA monitoring site.

It is this edge and demarcation that Amanda Sturgeon explores with her artwork. That she is an architect passionate about sustainability and living lightly on the earth is pertinent here: her rock wall comes out of and returns to the earth. We see emergence and disappearance, light and shadow, retention and fluidity. The rocks in the piece were gathered from the surrounding site and captured within a wireframe cage, situated parallel to the chain link fence. Two walls, two forms.

Hers is a quiet piece on the first reading: a sinuous gesture of an earthworked line. But there is also subtext: the gradated color of the rock wall from the dark base to the light top suggest earth's strata on one hand, and the process of interring the creosote pollution that has laid beneath this site on another. And the question of the wall's strength provokes as well, for it is clearly an inviting human-scale piece for sitting, but over time the wall sagged and morphed under its own weight.

Amanda writes: "I have created a natural stone wall adjacent to the chain link fence of the EPA site to juxtapose against the man-made steel wall that contains the creosote pollution. Formed within a chicken wire framework, the wall is undulating and contained at the same time.

The wall will symbolize the future of the park, curving, undulating and embracing as it emerges from the now clean ground. The wall expresses the natural beauty of the site and invites interaction by providing a suggestion of protection and shelter. It’s presence alongside the steel wall and barbed wire fence will offer contemplation of the site’s polluted history."


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