Is it a shadow? A school of fish? Moss? Mist? Or a cloud? Sophia Wheelwright invites you to make your mind up.
Suspended among the trees in Seattle’s Occidental Square sits a cloud-like mesh installation, transforming the park’s space with waves of reflecting color. Made by Seattle-based artist, Sophia Wheelwright, Suspended Eddies is a draping aluminium mesh sculpture, lit with LED lighting which changes in appearance when night falls.
Wheelwright tells The Creators Project, “I visited the site over a month, spending hours observing the park’s activity and imagining how a sculpture could inhabit the space. I want people to be curious, to sense its energy and pause in their normal routine to ask—what is this?”
In the daylight, Suspended Eddies appears as a camouflaged sun-dappled structure with curves comparable to a billowing tree root or a human tissue or organ. At night, LED lights transform the installation into a luminescent blue and green spectacle, contrasting with the natural landscape surrounding it.
“When I anonymously visit the site, I hear people discussing the things they see in the piece. I've heard people say they’ve seen shadows, schools of fish, moss, mist, mountain ranges, water, air, clouds, smoke, and so much more. This personal act of making associations is a way we all understand and share how we are affected by things. It helps us create meaning. Suspended Eddies changes enormously depending on where you stand, how long you spend, what time of day you visit,” Wheelwright explains.
“With each project, I work with light, sound, movement, and sometimes other artists to discover how different approaches work with my materials in each setting. For this piece, I contracted lighting designer, David Verkade who helped both design and construct the grid to hang the sculpture without harming the trees. The piece has two distinct phases—daytime with natural light shifts and evening with a different palette of shifting light.”
Constructed over 12 days, Suspended Eddies invites people to be increasingly aware of textures, patterns, sounds, and movements that shift over the course of the day: “I worked as a naturalist for over 15 years, and what I loved is how when people’s attention is drawn to details of a plant, animal print, or rock, they start to notice more details, all around them in all kinds of things. It is the act of noticing and being affected by things. People spend increasing amounts of time looking at screens in one form or another. My work is about creating sculptures that are as enticing as those screens, but rather than focusing you down into a small window, they make you look up, broadening what you see, sense, and experience.”
Suspended Eddies takes place from August 4 to October 3, 2016 in Occidental Square, Seattle. To learn more about the installation click here.