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Janet Echelman

Lives and works in Brookline / Massachusetts / USA

Janet Echelman is an American artist specializing in public art installations and sculpture. She transforms open air with her large, lacy installations made from polyester fiber. Her sculptures respond to environmental forces like wind, water, and sunlight.
She reshapes urban airspace with monumental, fluidly moving sculpture that responds to environmental forces including wind, water, and sunlight. Studio Echelman explores the cutting edge of sculpture, public art, and urban transformation. Assembled and led by internationally recognized sculptor Janet Echelman, the design team focuses on the development and creation of large-scale artworks.

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Janet Echelman: Her Secret is Patience
Downtown Civic Space, Phoenix, Arizona

Her Secret is Patience, the 145-ft-tall aerial sculpture in Phoenix, Arizona, is a new civic icon hailed for contributing to the revitalization of downtown.
Suspended above the new 2-city block Civic Space Park, the sculpture is monumental yet soft, fixed in place but constantly in motion, it dances gently in the air, choreographed by the flux of desert winds.
The large 3-dimensional multi-layered form is created by a combination of hand-baiting and machine-loomed knotting, and is the result of a collaborative effort with an international team of award-winning aeronautical and mechanical engineers, architects, lighting designers, landscape architects, and fabricators. This work redefines the ‘art space,’ by bringing
viewers eyes upwards to the sky, focused on a new celestial object.
During the day, the sculpture hovers high above heads, treetops, and buildings. The sculpture creates what the artist calls “shadow drawings,” which she says are inspired by Phoenix’s cloud shadows that captivated her from the first site visit.

At night, the illumination changes color gradually through the seasons. The goal in selecting the colors is to provide residents some small climate relief through color, adding cool hues in summer, and warm tones in winter. The lighting design also changes what portion of the sculpture is illuminated, leaving parts obscured in mystery, much like the phases of the moon.
The artist was inspired by the region’s distinctive monsoon cloud formations and the shadows they cast, in addition to forms found in desert flora and the local fossil record. The title quotes American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, who wrote, ‘Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience.’

Painted galvanized steel and cables; changing sets of recyclable hightenacity polyester braided twine netting; colored lighting with computerized programming.

Year: 2009

Client: City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture Public Art Program

Poles: 105ft, 125ft, and 145ft tall;
Rings: Outer 100ft wide; Inner 30ft wide;
Cable: 1 3/4 -inch cable; 1-inch cable
Net Dimensions: 100ft wide at top - 15ft wide at bottom
Lowest part of net hangs 38ft above ground
Highest rises to about 100ft
Wind Load: designed to withstand 90-mile/hour winds.
Budget: US $2.5 million

Learn more about the artist at her webpage




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