University of Rhode Island, College of Pharmacy
Kingston, Rhode Island
The Wellness & Medicinal Plant Garden is a sculptural environment that speaks to the fields of pharmacy and pharmacognosy, the geography of Rhode Island and the context of URI. The Garden forms an entryway to the School of Pharmacy and is a visual statement that has the potential to permeate and subtly guide the School----an opportunity to artistically create an inspired space, where garden, sculpture and School interact and overlap to such an extent that they become integral to one another. Within the garden are a Central Green, Arc Wall with a Materia Medica Frieze, Birch Grove with seating pods & the Medicinal Plant Beds. The series of planting beds takes its shape from ‘conical measures’ or laboratory glassware used for accurate measurement of liquids. The garden paths and stone banding relate to the graduated markings of these precision instruments. Gently arcing through the garden, visually carrying the viewer and visitor from one end to the other, is a translucent sculptural frieze of overlapping panels emerging from and then suspended above, a sitting wall. The large contemporary panels, the color of the sea and reminiscent of laboratory slides, create a quiet and vital energy that informs the Garden. The frieze makes visible a poetic investigation of plant matter - each etched panel depicts the activity of growth, movement, and transformation of plants and cells. A progression of images and patterns illuminate the frieze which is made from fifty, one-half inch thick, two-foot by four-foot etched resin panels supported by aluminum posts. Throughout the length of the frieze, visualization is given to the enormity of the dynamic interactions of cells and the energetic occurrences on both a plant and molecular level that abstractly depict numerous biologic processes, chemical reactions or other events that result in transformation. The frieze is lit from below with LED lights and glows at night accentuating the etchings as well as guiding visitors to the building entrance. This project was a collaboration with artists Elizabeth Billings and Andy Wasserman.