(Un)Still Life with Spoked Wheels
Program: Collaborations, Commissions
Location: Bishop Grandin Overpass and Chancellor Station
Medium: Weathering steel and dichroic glass
(Un)Still Life with Spoked Wheels, located at Chancellor Station and on the east wall of the Bishop Grandin overpass, is inspired by the Métis-designed Red River cart. The innovative wooden cart helped to transport goods between the Red River region and St. Paul, Minnesota during the fur trade. This artwork presents the iconic spoked wheels of the Red River cart image in an unconventional perspective, exploring the connection between motion and transportation by including a moiré pattern in the shape of a spoked wheel.
The Red River cart relied on two wheels and an ox. Being made entirely of local natural materials, any issues or break-downs were easily fixed no matter where on the trail they occurred. The Red River cart’s unique and ingenious design allowed for large loads of up to 1,000 lbs to be carried along many types of terrain. When being carted over water, its wheels were removed and turned on their sides, creating a type of floatation device for stream crossings. With the Red River cart, the trek from Fort Garry to St. Paul, Minnesota took about six weeks.
The moiré pattern in the circular parts of (Un)Still Life with Spoked Wheels creates an illusion of movement when the viewer sees it from different angles. The use of dichroic glass, which changes colour depending on the angle from which it is viewed, further enhances the sense of movement in the sculpture. Though the sculpture is completely still, it appears to spin like a cart wheel. While the spoked wheel pattern appears to revolve, a sideways figure 8 emerges from the center of the pattern, rotating as it grows larger and smaller. The infinity symbol, first used by the Métis resistance in 1885, is featured on the official flag of the Métis Nation.
This work is was created through the Winnipeg Arts Council’s Public Art Program in collaboration with Winnipeg Transit, PCL, and Plenary Group as part of Winnipeg's SouthWest Rapid Transitway expansion project.
Warren Carther is a Winnipeg-based contemporary glass artist. His work negotiates the line between abstraction and representation and is informed by various elements from nature and the densely built environments of human urbanity. The works emerge from the social and cultural context in which they are placed for people to experience in their everyday lives. Since his professional art practice began in 1980, he has produced more than one hundred site-specific installations world-wide. His artwork is featured at five international airports including the Charles de Galle Airport in Paris. His sculpture can also be found in other significant buildings including the Canadian Embassies in Tokyo and London.