In Transit/En Route

Patterson Webster
In Transit/En Route   2010–11
Glass, acrylic sheets, stainless steel, stainless steel clips, acrylic lettering, fieldstone, pine box, cedar posts
Collection of the artist

This site-responsive installation encourages meditation. Square glass panels suspended in mid-air along a forest path pose questions that ask walkers to pay attention to the passage of time and to where they are situated, physically and mentally, in relation to the world they inhabit. The panel’s design of a square within a circle alludes to the traditional Chinese depiction of the cosmos as a circle enclosing a square that is the Earth, our constructed world.

Text on the panels is in French and English. It is printed in a small script with no spaces between the words, making it hard to read and thereby slowing the walker’s pace and simultaneously suggesting a closeness between the two main linguistic groups that populate Quebec’s Eastern Townships, the home of Glen Villa Art Garden.

The signs lead to a clearing in the woods where a bench in the shape of a pine box—a form traditionally used for burials in rural communities—offers a place to pause for rest and contemplation. In the centre of the clearing, an upright boulder casts its shadow like a sundial onto posts painted with lines to mark the hours. The shadow, continually shifting, presents a contrast with the solidity and immobility of the granite boulder itself. Outlining the perimeter of the clearing is a steel band laser-cut with the words “now maintenant.”