1701 University Avenue

Sandy Gellis


Cygnus A, 1994
2000 square feet x 4' x 7'
slope, concrete, bedrock, steel, glass, phosphorescent paint
Board of Education
Percent for Art Program
New York Public Library

Sandy Gellis' installation at the Sedgwick Branch Library brings together three levels of the natural environment — the earth's substructure, its surface, and the sky. Boulders and local rocks represent the underground from the Bronx—granite, gneiss, and mica schist. The earth's surface is emphasized by a changing elevation of the site. Steps level the area in round, spherical waveforms rising from the entrance of the gate to the library and up to the end of the ground.

Carbon steel tubes capped with glass beads in phosphorescent paint suggest the night sky. The phosphorescent painted glass absorbs and captures daylight during the day and emits the light as star-like spots at night. The steel tubes are placed in the configuration of the brightest radio source in the sky—Sandy Gellis explains that it was her childhood in the Bronx that heightened her awareness of the beauty and subtleties of natural processes. In Cygnus A she invites the users of the library to experience and contemplate the nuances of nature.

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