Bornstein artwork graces synchrotron
By Colleen MacPherson
A recently unveiled abstract work of art by a U of S professor emeritus is both a visual focal point on the exterior of the synchrotron building and a significant addition to the University’s art collection.
The large untitled work by former art and art history professor Eli Bornstein was officially presented June 4 before a small crowd on the north lawn of the Canadian Light Source (CLS). The 30-foot-wide by 15-foot-high work, termed a structurist relief, had been mounted onto the building some weeks earlier.
The brightly coloured, multi-panel artwork is untitled, an intentional choice by the artist. Bornstein said in an interview prior to the unveiling ceremony that abstract works have “many associations and references”. Giving a piece a title that reflects those associations often serves only to “direct people’s attention to those things and away from the work as a whole”.
Always interested in both the links between art and science and the production of large works for public spaces, Bornstein used aluminum panels painted with acrylic enamel and a clear topcoat to create the three-dimensional work. Three years in the making, it is designed to change appearance as it captures and reflects the unique qualities of light at various times of day and in various seasons. Lighting will soon be added to illuminate the work at night.
Kent Archer, director of the U of S permanent collection, said the Bornstein work is a major acquisition, mainly because of its large size. The artist is already represented in the collection with two works on paper and two constructions, so “we’re quite delighted to have a major piece of his.”
Bornstein donated his artist’s fee for the project while the University assumed responsibility for the materials and installation. Tony Whitworth, vice-president finance and resources, said the aluminum panels and paint cost about $40,000 while the job of mounting the work was handled through Facilities Management Division.