West Wall, East Light, Morning © Mary Temple 2010, hand-glazed ceramic mosaic, Q Line to Brighton Beach, Neck Road southbound platform, New York NY
Commission for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Arts for Transit
Mary Temple’s artwork subtly shifts the commuter’s perception of the subway station by creating a soft canopy of light and shade that floods the wall of the west stair leading up to the southbound platform. The standard wall tile has been tinted, transitioning from rectangular shapes to smaller angular shapes to form an elaborate fractured mosaic. Over the pattern of shapes, it appears that a shard of light and tree silhouettes illuminate the wall. On closer inspection viewers discover that the tiles are hand-painted in ceramic glazes.
This slow reveal of the image was designed by the artist, to be discovered over time, on repeated viewing, as commuters catch a glimpse of perpetual morning light.
As the artist reminds us, Henry David Thoreau said: “Vigorous thought keeps pace with the sun, the day is a perpetual morning”. The artwork may not be immediately noticed as it subtly plays with the viewer’s perception of the space, and will lead to ongoing discovery and enjoyment as its mysteries are revealed.