Best New Public Art

Mi Tierra

Susan Gamble and Ned Gray

STAFF PICK: Our eye was caught by a low-key but interesting environmental piece, and we do mean environmental. "Mi Tierra" by Susan Gamble and Ned Gray of Santa Theresa Tileworks is a flat outdoor (environmental!) work that incorporates trees, benches and a low concrete wall into its courtyard setting. And as an artwork commissioned for the UA's Dennis DeConcini Environment and Natural Resources building, it takes the environment as its subject. "Mi Tierra" is an homage to the earth sciences, and bits of earth and rock gleaned from the scientists who walk over it every day have been embedded into its surface. A big square about 25 feet on a side, the piece lies right on the ground. It's divided into 16 smaller squares, and each of these in turn is made up of ceramic shapes that are regular--squares, triangles and such--suggesting the scientific mind, and swooping irregular shapes of nature--curving plants and birds, jagged-edge tiles--hinting at nature in all its organic glory. Perhaps most fun are the dozens of quotations from scientists and poets, describing the wonders of the universe, that line the squares. From Emily Dickinson: "It struck me--every day--the lightning was as new as if the cloud that instant slit and let the fire through."

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