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Heidi Dauphin: Extracting Shadows - A Public Art Project in Phoenix

Extracting shadows 1

Heidi Dauphin (MFA 2001, BFA 1992) along with her public art partner, Nina Solomon, completed a 5 year public art project for the City of Phoenix, Arizona in December, 2014. Dauphin and her partner were selected to design a 1,200 ft section of security wall surrounding a 3 milion gallon water reservoir for the City of Phoenix. This project was funded as part of the Percent for Art program that the City of Phoenix sponsors.

Dauphin and Solomon created shadow patterns of desert plants and trees that seem to fall across the wall, but are in fact embedded into the design of the wall. They soften the long wall with natural imagery in silhouette forms, contrasting these patterns with repeated panels of rusted metal for textural variety. The shadow images were made on 8×8 ft rubber form liner molds and then revealed on the poured in place cement wall sections and visible from the street 50 feet away. Two gates were also created with the same shadow patterns on panels of rusted metal.

For inspiration, the artists were intrigued by shadows of desert plants growing in the area. In these shadows they found images of plants distorted and skewed in unexpected ways. By sorting, extracting, and editing from these shadows, they developed simple, natural graphics to apply to the reservoir wall that are recognizable but also abstracted through distorting and cropping. Thus, resulting in the title of the piece, Extracting Shadows.

This is Dauphin’s 5th public art project in the Phoenix area with Solomon. She is also currently working on private commissioned mixed media artwork for local Phoenix business lobbies and ocasionally teaching.