Americans for the Arts today honored “Reflection Rising,” a Canal Convergence installation by Patrick Shearn of Poetic Kinetics, among 50 outstanding public art projects created in 2018.
The recognition came through the Public Art Network Year in Review program, the only national program that specifically recognizes the most compelling public art. Chosen by public art experts, the roster of selected projects was unveiled this morning at Americans for the Arts’ Annual Convention in Minneapolis. This is the 18th year that Americans for the Arts has recognized public artworks.
“As an artist, I am driven by the way people interact with and experience my art,” says Shearn. “Working with Scottsdale Arts to present ‘Reflection Rising’ was a profoundly rewarding opportunity to bring art to the people, and I was humbled by the appreciation of the people I met in Scottsdale. It’s a blushing surprise to be honored by PAN in this way as well.”
Shearn and his Poetic Kinetics team from Los Angeles installed “Reflection Rising” as a temporary, site-specific artwork above the Arizona Canal at the Scottsdale Waterfront. “Reflection Rising” was the centerpiece of Canal Convergence | Water + Art + Light in February 2018. The first phase of the artwork was installed in November 2017 with the second phase completing the project three months later. It remained on display through March 5, 2018.
After it was fully installed, “Reflection Rising” soared above the canal from Marshall Way Bridge to Soleri Bridge, near Scottsdale Road. Thousands of brightly-colored streamers — suspended by a lightweight, virtually invisible net — allowed the kinetic sculpture to move fluidly in the wind. The second phase included a large section of silvery streamers that rose up from the canal to envelop a section of the beer and wine garden at Soleri Plaza during Canal Convergence.
“Reflection Rising” is part of Shearn’s Skynet series — designed to evoke the movements of nature. The series began with “Liquid Shard” in 2016 in downtown Los Angeles, where the 15,000-square-foot piece made its surprise debut overnight. Shearn has since exhibited other large installations from the Skynet series across the world, including Germany and Russia.
“The best of public art can challenge, delight, educate and illuminate. Most of all, public art creates a sense of civic vitality in the cities, towns and communities we inhabit and visit,” says Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “As these Public Art Network Year in Review selections illustrate, public art has the power to enhance our lives on a scale that little else can. I congratulate the artists and commissioning groups for these community treasures, and I look forward to honoring more great works in the years to come.”
The projects selected for Year in Review can be viewed at americansforthearts.org and will be displayed throughout the Annual Convention. Two independent public art experts — artist Seitu Jones of Saint Paul, Minn., and Aaron Ott, curator of public art at Albirght Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, N. Y. — discussed the trends they uncovered while examining hundreds of submissions for the Year in Review. Their complete presentation, which includes photos and descriptions of all 50 projects, will be available for purchase through Americans for the Arts’ store.
Shearn, who worked for three decades in the film industry as a creature-maker and visual effects supervisor, is chief creative officer for Poetic Kinetics, which designs, fabricates and implements a wide range of artworks that encourage audience participation. The studio has shown its work at Burning Man and Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, as well as Canal Convergence. Canal Convergence is managed by Scottsdale Public Art, a branch of the nonprofit Scottsdale Arts.
Canal Convergence transitioned from a spring event to autumn in late 2018. It will return to the Scottsdale Waterfront this year from Nov. 8–17 with a new selection of interactive and light-based temporary art installations, innovative and educational programming, live music, food and more. Details about Canal Convergence 2019, including the selected artworks, will be released later this summer.
For more information, visit canalconvergence.com.