tampa, florida - public art collaboration with Wendy Babcox
By: Mark Naugle
We here at Steward-Mellon are proud to have recently participated in a couple of beautiful Art in Public Places projects at the new Economy Parking Garage at the Tampa International Airport . The Western elevator lobby contains a site-specific art piece by Wendy Babcox entitled Sea Shadows.
Here is Wendy’s artist statement:
SEA SHADOWS: This three-part project by photographer and visual artist Wendy Babcox, inspired by the work and research of the Biological Oceanography Department at the College of Marine Sciences at the University of South Florida (USF), explores three different levels of observation of the marine world and involves the use of three distinct imaging technologies to capture the variety of ocean life around us.
Surface refers to the first level of observation, available to the naked eye, and consists of photographs of Honeymoon Island beach taken by Wendy Babcox with a pinhole camera.
Shadows explores another level of observation, which captures marine images recorded using the SIPPER, a high-powered imaging device. These etched glass images were adapted from real imagery of plankton collected in the Gulf of Mexico using the Shadowed Image Particle Profiling and Evaluation Recorder (SIPPER), which was developed by the Center for Ocean Technology at the USF College of Marine Science to better understand the distribution and composition of plankton in our oceans.
The development of the SIPPER was funded by the Office of Naval Research through grants to USF faculty Dr. Andrew Remsen and Dr. Thomas Hopkins, and the images were collected with the assistance of graduate students Kurt Kramer and Sennai Habtes.
In Source, icons of marine algae, adapted from microscopic images of a filtered seawater sample and taken via electron microscope by Anthony M.
Greco, manager of the electron microscope facility at the University of South Florida College of Marine Science, take the form of aluminum cut-outs on the terrazzo floor.
The artist wanted a deep-sea feel to this terrazzo floor. We worked with her on design mixes and came up with a shimmering deep blue epoxy terrazzo with glass and abalone shell aggregates. Wendy provided Steward-Mellon with CAD drawings of the design. The twenty-nine algae images were then waterjet cut, set in the field with epoxy. The floor was poured around the aluminum images, ground, and polished to a luster to bring out the saturated color. The process went through without a hitch. The artist sums up her experience: “It was a pleasure working with Steward-Mellon. They worked tirelessly to manifest the creative vision of this project.” It was great working with you as well, Wendy!