Bloom Boom by Vicki Wilson and John Larsen
Our task was to create a unifying element on Main Street’s light poles that would help identify the business district. We were inspired by the Art Deco and Art Nouveau designs used on the building facades and wanted to incorporate the architectural history of the area. We used the Art Nouveau technique of transforming architectural structures into plant forms and the Art Deco language of bolted planar metal. Once the form was established we continued using the design sense of these art movements to create pieces that referenced the area. Some works reference the natural world through native plants; others reference the unique architecture of Oregon City’s Main Street District. The lantern effect at night was of particular interest to us as the use of color, light and shadow, positive and negative space has been favorite design challenges of ours.
As we spent more time around the community on Main St. we became aware of the symbolic aspect an opening flower has in this place. Oregon City is growing, waking and exploding into the city it will become. Residents seem energized for the changes and we are thrilled to contribute to the momentum.
STRATA By Vicki Lynn Wilson
Growing up in Virginia, my brother and I would dig out the foxholes in the back yard. We would find musket balls, bullets, ration cans and buttons from the Civil War. A few streets over, the grave of a premature baby was receiving a lot of attention at George Washington’s boyhood home, a place that held 10,000 years worth of human artifacts. A shopping center chain made an unsuccessful bid to buy the historic property just before it was added to the National Historic Registry. The home I grew up in was purchased by the Department of Transportation and demolished to build a freeway. When I visit Virginia, I still look for the one small section of fence that remains like a grave marker for my childhood.
My work is influenced by memory, home, loss, and Diaspora and often used the language of nature as a metaphor. The use of recyclable materials is a reminder of the impermanence and fluidity of all things. There will be no tangible artifact of this work when it and I are gone.
In 1995, I was a volunteer with an archeological dig. The plot of land in Ridgefield, WA was an unknown. Representatives of local native tribes were stationed at the dig in hopes that the next item found would identify the tribal ancestry of the site. It was, also, a race against time. The nearby field was being core sampled and an unproductive sampling would result in a shopping center being built on the site. Mine was among the many voices that were heard at Vancouver City Hall.
When I visited the recently constructed Vancouver City Hall, I was drawn to the support beam in the two-story lobby. It seemed to me that the structure was supporting the city. I was also touched by the artifact display encased in the floor of the lobby. I wanted to find a way to draw that stratum (and other layers of the site’s history-including my own) up from the floor into a dense supporting pillar, a core sample, a stalagmite, an hourglass, a timeline.
This piece required on site alterations from the drawing.