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Lanterns at Pier 2 Picnic Docks

Mark Nisenholt
Glass panels 5.54’h (169 cm) x 8.20’w (250 cm)
Digital images transferred onto architectural laminate glass panels
August 2011
Prince Arthur's Landing - Pier 2

Three cedar lantern structures on Pier 2 feature artwork produced by Thunder Bay artist Mark Nisenholt. The images were printed and secured between sheets of architectural laminate glass, which appear to glow during the day from southern sunlight and are illuminated at night by an interior lamp.

The guiding theme for the art competition was to “Animate the Journey to the End of the Pier”. It provided an opportunity for 2-dimensional artwork to be incorporated into 3-dimensional structures and transformed into public art. The images, titled Ulysses, Swimmers and Paleogirls, depict 'giant' figures interacting with the water. In addition to the quality inherent in the artwork, the images stand out as the City’s first installation of digitally-produced public art.

Artist Statement

[The images] playfully explore the theme of Man’s relationship to the Water and to Nature in general. The images are meant to elicit feelings and thoughts that are compatible with the vast spaces and contemplative state of mind that the lake shore embodies.

Paleogirls references Paleolithic Venus figurines such as the Venus of Willendorf and similar stone carvings found in the company of our earliest stone-age ancestors. Three figures gather by the water’s edge, exploring its shallows, possibly for the first time. These figures are made of pebbles, sand and mud, indicating their affinity with the Earth.

Swimmers takes a more futuristic point of view in which human beings are less material and more malleable. Two technologically advanced humans venture further into the water. They are composed of struts and wires and tubes and are semitransparent. They are meant to signify beings that are becoming less material and more digital. Nevertheless, they still feel a need to make contact with the water.

The figure in Ulysses could be seen as a giant God-like figure overlooking a sailboat, or a normal human playing with a toy boat. This image is meant to raise questions about our relationship to our simpler pleasures, our relationship to the water, and our dependency upon the mercy of the Gods.