Bridge Ascending

Doucet & Saito
Bridge Ascending   2003
Commissioned by Norman and Patterson Webster

Cradled by gently sloping ground, this imposing sculpture is a tribute to both memory and the transformative power of art. The girders in the piece were originally part of a covered bridge that Norman Webster crossed when travelling from his winter home in Sherbrooke to his summer home in North Hatley. The 19th-century covered bridge, a local landmark and tourist attraction, burned down in 2002. When the artist and her husband saw the pieces that had survived the fire, they asked their long-time friends, the artists Louise Doucet and Satoshi Saito, to transform the unlikely scraps into a work of art. The monumental sculpture that resulted is the artists’ first foray into steel and the second work of art that the Websters commissioned from this internationally renowned duo.

Unable to perform their original function, the bent and twisted girders now bridge a sea of rippling grasses rather than rippling water. They ascend, phoenix-like, from a bowl-like depression in a former farm field, giving new life to old memories and shaping old forms into new. Bridging the gap between history and present-day experience, the sculpture illustrates how destruction can give rise to creation.