amy alice thompson

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Lees Stationpublic art

The narrative of this piece begins with the Rideau River, its current carving and winding its way through the landscape. Animals created paths alongside the river, then groups of humans followed, hunting and gathering, then building and industrializing. Invisible trails are marked in the sky by birds, while history is quietly recorded through more tangible signs, such as the oxidization of metal and the rings expanding within the trunk of a tree. These traces form a compendium, but instead of following a linear narrative, a more natural, dynamic tale of the area is told, where the layers of history and meaning both overlap and are built one on top of another.

Transparent Passage is an integrated public artwork created for Lees Station in Ottawa. The work functions as a collage comprised of a 90-meter printed glass platform and canopy, and metal sculptures capturing the frozen motion of a bird in flight. Viewed from the moving train, or while biking past on the pathway, the birds reveal their motion, while referencing the invention of locomotion photography.

Imagery and symbols from various time periods pertinent to the area such as old photographs and the shapes left from train round houses, along with a natural colour palette that represents the passing of time allows Transparent Passage to capture both the tangible and intangible layers of history and gives a simultaneous sense of our place within this journey.

This piece is dedicated to the memory of my father, for his passion for a fuller understanding of Canada’s long history and love of the steam locomotive.