Valance is a site-specific piece of architecture on the pedestrian Blue Bridge in Grand Rapids Michigan engaging architectural theory, the problems of public space, and the private experience of art. Valance was exhibited during ArtPrize 2014.
The mirrored cylindrical structure creates an architectural folly as a small piece of architecture designed for the purpose of decoration. The sculpture appears structural and solid, yet the laser-etched mirrored surface refute its stability. This tension is at the heart of the design. The public viewed distorted reflections of the surrounding space and their own image.
Valance operates as a decorative textile.
Drawings of Michigan cherry fields, traditional plants, landscapes and digital patterns will combine into a ephemeral distortion of the mirror’s surface. This references toile fabric, used in the domestic setting, asserting a private experience in public space.
Toile is connected to the first architecture or primitive hut, where the origin for texture and ornamentation came from Nature. Dwellings and structures constructed of leaves, trees and wood inspired the design of ancient Greek temples.
Later, Modernism eliminated the detail of ornamentation and texture, which suppressed the narrative potential of materiality. By etching into the cold mirror material, and damaging its purity through ornament, this installation juxtaposes nature/ culture, space/form and public/private.
Valance becomes a curtain you can step into. People took images of themselves distorted through the digital "stitch." The laser subverted into a decorative tool.
During the day, the mirror appeared opaque unless inspected closely, but at night the etched patterns glow from within as if indicating some source of magical power. The sculpture is interactive through peoples reflections occupying the surface, allowing for photographs of the self of group. The mirror asks us to question how we view ourselves and others.