Alder Veil is at the cross roads between the past and the future. The grove of alder inspired forms stands ghostly and majestic as a gateway and beacon at the heart of the Village of Islington neighborhood. It recalls Mimico Creek that flows beneath the road invisible to motorists today but once a place for leisure picnics in a pastoral countryside and before that the Anishinaabe called it “Mimico” as “resting place or abundance of wild pigeons.” We have created a new resting place at the heart of the village.
The language of the sculpture is a hybrid of architectural structure and natural patterns. Crisp geometry and brilliant metal speak of the sophisticated and contemporary community while stainless steel discs shiver in the wind recalling breezes that once rustled alder leaves over the heads of the Anishinaabe and later, pleasure boaters. Wind is revealed by the discs and personifies the energy and vibrancy of Islington today. Soaring arcs are repeated like a cathedral open to the sky. Even if passing motorists seldom stop to sit beneath them, this ‘grove’ is welcoming as a place to gather and ponder the wonder of light and wind. At night, shimmering discs are lit and the ghostly arcs and tree forms float against the dark sky and trees that serve as a back drop to the site. It provides a psychological refuge from the hectic pace of modern life and traffic swirling around.
Alder Veil is a signal work that will become identified with the town of Islington, an icon and gateway to this neighborhood. The planters are arrayed like leaves that have fallen and are carried by the current of the river. Drought and salt resistant perennial grasses and plants in the planters recall the wild plant life that once lined the banks of the Creek. The swaying grasses respond to the wind and create a landscape of their own at the base of the sculptural structure. The new and the old married in form and function, while responsible conservation of resources for sustainable urban parks is respected.
Wooden seating is set out in an arc around a central point of the site like a small amphitheater making it possible for community events to be held here. The lines in the paving recall the river currents and function to draw storm water to irrigate naturally the planters whose base is like a sponge absorbing the moisture and slowly releasing it to the soil. This simple, elegant gesture highlights the complex and immersive effect that moving water has on all living things. We are drawn to it. The pattern weaves through the space in and around the feet of the alders as though contained by imaginary banks.