CREOSOTE LACE 2019
50th Street Light Rail Station, Phoenix, AZ, USA.
11 units, each 11’ H x 11’ W x 4’ D
Steel, integrated light.
CREOSOTE LACE was conceived with the dual purposes of providing shade for commuters while celebrating a native plant which has been living in the Southwest for over seventeen thousand years. The new, accessible light rail station provides crucial access to the Ability360 facility as well as numerous other businesses nearby.
The artwork develops the concept of healing through the natural world as a central theme for the station. Creosote bush, also known as Greasewood (Larrea tridentata) has been recognized by the O’odham and other indigenous peoples since the beginning of time. In fact, O’odham tradition suggests that the Greasewood was a key element in the very creation of the world. Even today the creosote bush is the most populous native plant in the Phoenix basin.
CREOSOTE LACE combines shadow patterns formed by the delicate creosote leaves and minute blooms to create large abstract panels which, in turn, create shade. The beauty and delicacy of this plant is further emphasized by the spiral shape of the curvilinear panels which float up the approach ramps to the station platform. These spiral shaped canopies emulate the motion of the creosote as it blows in the southwest winds, ever-rooted to the earth. The continuous spiral shapes of the shade canopies also reference the ability of this tenacious plant to send out lateral shoots and, over long periods of time, to create concentric circles of plant families.
The distinctive aroma of creosote bush is also a vital part of our desert legacy. Sonoran Desert rains release the many oils in the plant that create a distinctive and unique aroma in the air. Arizonans always recognize this smell as an indelible sign of the monsoon season.
CREOSOTE LACE is fabricated with steel, laser cut and painted, with a silver surface finish intended to evoke the shimmering light of the desert.
The work of art is a tribute to the humble and prevalent creosote bush and to the healing powers that exist in the Sonoran Desert.
Fabrication: CAID Industries, Tucson, Arizona
Commissioned by Valley Metro, Phoenix, Arizona.