Winding pathways ascend small knolls and circulate around reflecting pools all leading to a central labyrinth. Curved benches are placed throughout the landscape, inviting visitors to take a moment to sit quietly and contemplate their surroundings. Although it is still under construction, Fianna’s Healing Garden at Renown Regional Medical Center is taking shape.
The elements of the garden come together harmoniously. The curves of the benches flow with the meandering walkways and the organic shapes of the pools and flowerbeds. In contrast, three sculptures rise up out of the landscape.
“Nature, as a major element in healing, is so huge,” says Cork Marcheschi, a San Francisco artist who was commissioned to create the pieces for the garden. He worked closely with local gallery owner Turkey Stremmel and a team of planners and designers. All three sculptures were created after visiting the site.
“These pieces came from this experience,” says Marcheschi.
The piece “Wind Column” draws directly from nature. It is a rectangular tower covered in blue, reflective disks that hang from the sculpture in a regular pattern. The disks are lightweight and, even in the slightest breeze, they mimic what wind does when it goes over the surface of water—it reflects and bounces the light.
“It creates this very pleasant and random action that people will have to sit and wait to see, and they can kind of get lost in it,” explains Marcheschi.
“Wind Column” makes visible something that we experience in a tactile way but don’t normally see. It also creates a direct interaction between the art and the surrounding environment.
Labyrinths have been used since ancient times to induce tranquility and are often found in healing environments. They encourage the walker to enter a contemplative state, to go within. Marcheschi’s sculpture, “Column That Supports the Sky: Homage to Brancusi,” at the center of the labyrinth emphasizes this idea. It’s a tall, silver column created from diamond shapes with cobalt blue glass at their centers. This work rises up 21 feet high, connecting the earth and the sky. The tower reflects light and draws the viewer’s eye upward. Within the steel spiral, spheres of blown glass are embedded, giving the sense of a nucleus, a center.
“All of it really speaks to things that somehow relate very directly to the concept of healing. It is the center of the spiral, it is the center of the labyrinth,” says Marcheschi. The spheres light up at night exuding a deep, cobalt blue light that is very hard to focus on because of its frequency. “I wanted something that was really deep,” says Marcheschi. “That was saying that there was something on the interior. There is light. Light is always the metaphorical symbol for life. There is stuff inside. And it’s always the stuff that’s inside that’s the most important stuff.”
The third sculpture is “Circle of Squares,” metal rods arranged in a three-dimensional grid of squares that ultimately form a circle.
Although they stand out, the sculptures seem very comfortable and integrated into the garden. They draw the eye to a resting place, creating an atmosphere of unity within the space. They ask the viewer to slow down and spend some time with them and, as Marcheschi hopes, “to have an experience with the art that is unique to their moment in time.”