Scentime © Shary Boyle 2023, 26′-tall sculpture covered in Byzantine glass smalti mosaic patterns, with 4 mosaic detail insets, National Bank Place Main Lobby, 800 rue Saint-Jacques, Montreal QC

Installation: Infravert

Shary Boyle

” Scentime, a play on the words for fragrance and the smallest unit of currency in old France, represents a 26’ tall perfume bottle clad in ceramic and Byzantine coloured glass mosaics, capped with a golden head. Embodying a gourd vase silhouette with an Alice-in-Wonderland-style stretched neck, Scentime reimagines the miniature containers popularized in Paris and London in the 18th century as decorative vessels for precious scents. These tiny porcelain masterworks contained the divine feminine, connecting our senses to memory, water and the earth. Evocative of historical porcelain painting, Scentime is adorned with images of endangered plants and animals native to this land, specifically the eastern regions.

Situated at the entrance of National Bank Place, the sculpture questions what we value and what we do to keep it safe.

Ceramic vessels are among the earliest technologies of many ancient cultures, enabling societies to preserve food and carry water so they could move across the land. The vessel is a symbol of childbearing, caretaking and communal life. Encircling the bulb of the vase, images of our natural world are rendered at eye-level from the artist’s original watercolours, translated into Byzantine glass smalti by artisans at the Montreal-based company Mosaika. Personification and guardian of the vessel’s imagined contents, a cast-metal golden head seals the “body” in a nod to classic perfume bottle-stopper design. By merging the container with a mythological, figurative presence, the sculpture connects function to narrative, provoking dialogue between the artwork and the viewer.

Scentime is intended as a looming yet grounded touchstone, encouraging all who pass by to reflect on earth’s common treasury.” Deux Femmes En Céramique