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Fern inspired public artwork reframes Newton’s landscape

Fern inspired public artwork reframes Newton’s landscape

Meet artist Sean Alward at the unveiling of Fern Façade| September 30, 2017, 12:30pm

Surrey, BC | A new public artwork graces the windows of the Newton Recreation Centre expansion. Fern Façade by Sean Alward was inspired by the indigenous plants growing nearby in “The Grove.” The unveiling of Fern Façade will be recognized as part of the reopening ceremonies on Saturday, September 30 from 11am to 2pm at Newton Recreation Centre (13730 72 Avenue). Join Mayor, Councillors, and members of the Public Art Advisory Committee for the recognition ceremony at 12:30pm. The artist will be in attendance and you’ll have a chance to meet and chat with him. The event is free.

Fern Façade is based on the athyrium felix-femina, or common lady fern. One frond spans the wall of windows, with one or more leaflets inside each pane of glass. A closer look at the artwork reveals thousands of dots, which mimic the round spores found on the underside of fern leaves—the plant’s hearty reproductive system.

Ferns have been thriving in the Newton area since the emergence of rain forests sometime after the last ice age. The artist says, “They weave together deep time with present time and also the original landscape of Surrey with its current urban form. The film strip reference of the design, with its cropped images arranged in successive window panes, is a way of visualizing the ferns’ paradoxical state of continuity within fluid change.”

Fern Façade reminds us that though we may have cultural differences and the urban landscape is always changing, we share a common bond: a connection to an ancient natural heritage. Fabricated from frit glass, the design is also highly functional, helping to maintain and moderate the temperature of the building by filtering sunlight as well as reducing bird-window collisions. For more information about the Surrey Public Art Program:

ABOUT THE ARTIST | Sean Alward is a painter and photographer. He received his BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and an MFA from the University of British Columbia. Since 2002, he has exhibited in solo and group shows at numerous galleries across the Lower Mainland.

About The Author

Surrey604 Staff

Surrey604 is an online magazine and media outlet based in Surrey, BC. Through writing, video, photography, and social media, we secure an intimate reach to the public. We promote local events and causes.


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