VCCA Resident Artist Barbara Bernstein has been hard at work completing a public art project commissioned by the Arlington Public Art Fund and the Virginia Transit System. Barbara won the commission in 2011 in an international competition. She then began her designs for the project, providing a unifying visual motif for the double curved roofs, windscreens and pavement of seven new stations connecting Crystal City and Potomac Yard in the Washington D.C. greater metro area.
According to Barbara, “ Connections” is a design of interconnected lines that provides a visual metaphor for the purpose and function of the Transitway itself: bringing together multiple peoples, traveling from different directions within a unified system, in order to make connections. Each line of the design is linked to another; each shape is related to the lines. The intricate design is also a unified whole, just like the intersecting web of the lives people live on a daily basis.
After five years, unfortunate budget cuts and unexpected delays, the final project has Barbara’s designs for windscreens for each of the seven stations, ranging in size from 20 feet to 200 feet in width and 8 feet to15 feet in height. “I have created seven iterations of the design. The lines of the patterns always connect, even when mirrored or placed back to back. This was not planned on my part and was a gratifying yet unexpected discovery while I was working. Each station also has a specific predominant color, becoming a distinct landmark while providing identification other than text. This visual recognition also assists those who cannot read English.
Each of the colors within each design has a different degree of translucency printed on the art film. These variations add a sense of movement to the overall pattern. The largest shapes are most sheer, while smaller shapes have deeper, nearly opaque hues. The effect is similar to lenses that change with the time of day and level of sunlight.”
Barbara wanted her work to be seen and appreciated not just by the users of the transit system, but by passersby and those using other forms of transportation as well. Her work is an invitation to all who see it as an on-going discovery, offering connections at every juncture.
Barbara’s project will be in the International Public Art Review magazine in late fall 2016/early 2017 and will be considered for a national public art prize in 2018.