Niagara Strait (June 2019) The Niagara Botanical Garden, Niagara Falls, Ontario
Two forms (25'x18'x12") and 20'x16'x 12" 316 L Stainless Steel
The following images are of Niagara Strait, a site-specific sculpture for the Niagara Parks Commission in Niagara Falls, Ontario and currently being fabricated of Stainless Steel and installed in June 2019. These two massive walls tilt inward creating a passage like the Strait of Niagara which connects Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. This passage connects the 600,00,000 year old rocks of the gorge to the life cycle of a garden where plants grow, prosper and pass in a season. We live out our lives somewhere between these two extremes.
Shown here is the smallest of three elements which will create a corridor or passage to and from the Botanical Garden
This element is 16’ tall x 6’ wide.
The second element is 16’x16’
The third and largest element is 16’x24’
All surfaces will be burnished for maximum light reflectance.
A sculpture for the entrance to the Niagara Botanical Gardens
Niagara Falls Ontario
Completion June 2019
Green places like the Botanical Gardens and the Butterfly Conservatory allow us to wander, to wonder and to find sustenance for the spirit. Just as the Niagara River is a strait, a passage between two lakes, this sculpture will be a passage between two places, the world in which we live and the rare environs of the Garden and Conservatory we are about to enter. The rippling steel walls will invite the touch of the viewer passing through. Looking upward one will see irregular, sloping walls, silhouetted against the sky. Direct and reflected light will fill the space. The curving sculpture itself will be an elegant gesture toward the Conservatory and a few steps beyond, the Garden. Glancing back through the “looking glass” of the walls there will be a sense of having left another place and another time. In this way time within the garden’s precincts may become just a bit more precious.
All of my sculpture is site-specific and my process starts on site in search of an indefinable but discernible essence or spirit, its genius loci. The goal is to create a work that responds or belongs to its site the way a tree belongs to the place it grows. The inspiration for this piece came from the hidden beauty of the Niagara Gorge just a few hundred meters from here across the Parkway. The burnished steel walls of the sculpture reference both the towering cliffs and the gigantic boulders, broken and strewn about the floor of the Gorge.
The path down into the gorge is alive for it too is a garden of sorts with hundreds of species of plants. It leads in myriad directions and, just as in our everyday life we must choose which path to follow as our muddy footprints quickly disappear behind us. In places the towering walls speak of time even before this continent existed. The monumental water-worn rocks are breathtakingly tangible evidence of the immeasurable power of the river over countless years. My hope is that the sculpture will stimulate thoughts of the gorge, a place beyond time, against the backdrop of the living gardens and conservatory where time is measured in seasons, and lifecycles are measured in years, weeks and even within the hours of a single, sunny afternoon.
The sculpture surfaces will be smooth as if worn by the passage of water. Yet they will be scarred and deformed by irregularities and striations, evidence of the immense forces used to work the steel and create the sculpture. As massive as the sculptures are they also appear in some views to be comparatively thin, a duality I hope to explore that may make one mindful of the curving petals of a poppy or the feathering of a parrot tulip.
Two elements, 316 L stainless steel
1. 25’ long x 18’ high x 12” thick varying
2. 20’ long x 16’ high x 12” thick varying
GORDON M. REEVE