Monday, 7 January 2013
Sun Dial University of Western Australia
This project involves the construction of a large-scale mosaic on the side of a campus building, at once a decorative feature and a working sun dial. Initiated by the University of Western Australia (where I studied Fine Arts and Literature from 1992-95), this project has been developed in collaboration with Susan Marie, who instigated two other large mural projects at Subiaco Library during 2002-4, and Peter Kovesi, an engineer, research professor and technical whizz at UWA. Peter developed a linear pattern which charts the movement of shadow cast by a gnomon (a small suspended object) over a west-facing wall during the last five hours of each day. I then designed a mural around this fixed element, anticipating that it be reproduced as a high resolution glass-tile mosaic.
My basic idea was to make playful references to the movement of celestial bodies over the coastal plain of Western Australia, something like an imaginary religious icon. Colours and patterns were inspired medieval ‘Book of Hours’ illuminated manuscripts, some of which are notable for their intense gold and lapis lazuli pigments. The shadow cast by the gnomon will radiate from just below the centre of the setting sun, represented here as a winged spirit, keeping an eye on it’s lunar companion as day gives way to night – below are some developmental sketches for this design. The completion of the mural in early 2013 will coincide with UWA’s centenary celebrations.