Hell Gate Cairns
2016, Marble, glass, and gold on polysytrene, resin, and fiberglass base, 16 x 22 x 8 ft
2017 Installation in Riverside Park, NYC Parks.
2016 Installation on Randall's Island Park, NYC.
Hell Gate Cairns is a series of stacked stone pillars, or cairns, that stand watch over the New York coastline. By focusing on the forms of natural stone, the piece draws attention to the boulders that line the park’s paths and fields, remnants of the great earthmoving projects of the 20th century that cleared the city’s waterways – most notably the perilous “Hell Gate”, the narrow stretch of water between Randall’s Island and Queens responsible for hundreds of early shipwrecks. The monument’s placement at the water’s edge recalls these feats of human engineering, while further calling upon the cairns’ symbolism as both a memorial to the deceased and an ancient sign of treacherous waters.
Their verticality a reflection of the nearby Manhattan skyline, the Hell Gate Cairns aim to embody the human impulse to imaginative construction – stacking stones first in play, then as architecture. The surface of the sculptures is covered in stone mosaic with flickers of glass and gold that reflect the light of sun and water, turning the medium of mosaic upon itself: stone celebrating stone, a symbol of the creative relationship between man and nature.
Hell Gate Cairns was commissioned by the Randall’s Island Park Alliance, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, and Made Event.