Permanent glass frit mural installed at Newton Recreation Centre, Surrey, BC, 2017.
text from onsite attribution plaque:
“Inspired by the indigenous plants growing in “The Grove” beside the Newton Recreation Centre, artist Sean Alward’s Fern Façade invites us to rediscover our natural environment. Fabricated from frit glass, the design is highly functional, helping to maintain and moderate the temperature of the building by filtering sunlight.
Alward’s design is based on the athyrium felix-femina, or common lady fern, which he says is “subtly persistent feature in the neighborhood of Newton, a place that has been thoroughly urbanized over the past few decades”. One frond spans the windows, with one or more leaflets inside each pane of glass. Alward says, “The sequence of image on the glass panels emulates both the general structure of a fern frond and the fragmented time sequencing of motion picture film.” A closer look at the glass reveals that the design is made from thousands of dots, which mimic the round spores found on the underside of fern leaves—the plant’s hearty reproductive system. Spores convey the genetic pattern of the fern across time, in a way analagous to how the dots in the mural convey the pattern of its structure. Ferns have been thriving in the Newton area since the emergence of rain forests sometime after the last ice age, and their legacy stretches back millions of years.”