Monday, February 18, 2013

Water Henge in Cerritos

At the Regional County Park at 195th and Bloomfield stand five mosaic pillars that were put up only four years ago. Collectively they're titled Water Henge H20 = Life, and they tell the story of water's impact on the area.

The circle below is 20 feet across, and the tallest pillar is 13 feet high, plus two feet for the metal sun.

Kim Emerson, the artist, has a slideshow of the mosaics with lots of close-up shots showing all the details, here. I hope she doesn't mind that borrowed this shot.

In fact, for all I know all these pictures are the artist's, even though I found the others on the Los Angeles County Arts page.

The sun on the tallest pillar is of powdered steel and is aligned to throw its shadow across the center pillar during the spring and fall equinox. Well, the center pillar is probably not much of a descriptive. The center hump?

That tall pillar represents the primordial sea--it has text on it reading, “If you were standing here 40 million years ago, you would be under 5,000 feet of ocean.”  (Since the texts appear on the orange part of the mosaics, I decided to just keep the formatting that appears on the LA County Arts page description). And although this pictures doesn't show it, the top metal sculpture actually has gold paint on it.

The second pillar represents the land mass and the era of the dinosaurs, so it has mosaic representations of dinosaur bones on it. The third shows paw and human footprints, and deliberately appears to have suffered erosion.

The smaller pieces--2 feet high and nine inches high--seem to be melting into the earth. Fossilized plants cover the 2 foot one, and the smallest represents the tiny amount of water available now, compared to the giant sea that was once here.

And in keeping with the message--that water is scarce--this park is and always has been irrigated with reclaimed water. That fact actually appears on one of the orange bands.

The entire sculpture works as a sundial, telling the seasons and the time by where the tallest pillar's shadow falls.

From the City of Cerritos' page I learned that each piece of the five are  "carved out of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS). The forms were imbedded with a steel armature, rebar frame and coated with one-inch thick cement. Ceramic mosaic tiles accented with glass pieces surround the cement."

Emerson works out of her studio in San Diego (Kim Emerson Mosaics), but her mosaics are all over California, in both public and private hands.

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