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Memory Vessel As The Sun Sets

Martha Medford

Upper Golden Grove, Canada

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Artist's Description

This is the ‘Memory Vessel’ by New Brunswick artist Peter Powning. It sits along Harbour Passage, at the Eastern end of Reversing Falls, in Saint John, New Brunswick and commemorates 5 people (William (Billy) McCowan Comer, Kenneth Ernest Dunham, Aubrey Eugene Johnson, Ivan Ransford Lunn, David John McLaggan), who died in an tragic accident not far from the memorial. Late in the evening of January 4, 1974, a transport truck driver inadvertently backed his rig into a gas pump,spilling gasoline on the ground. There was also fuel stored underground at this Irving service station. Not long after the accident, the gasoline was somehow ignited , resulting in the horrific explosion of the service station.

Completed in 2010, Powning constructed his artwork from stainless steel and tumbled glass made from rejected crystal lamps that were broken up into small shards. It’s a canoe-like shell held up by undulating columns, recalling the city’s nautical nature. At night, a soft glow emanates from within the glass vessel and from the podium underneath the structure.

The subtle, almost lunar effect was created by lighting designers Linda Lees and Luis Rocha at Lightstudio Design. Lumenfacade fixtures were used both inside the sculpture and below it. “The structure is filled in with crushed recycled glass,” Rocha says. “It’s encased by a wireframe, so when you shine light through, it has a sparkling fleck to it. It’s a luminous surface with texture.” Meanwhile, the luminaires installed below-grade provide a sustained sheen on the columns.

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