(Un)Still Life with Spoked Wheels
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.