Alex Browne photo                                 The Coastal Cradle art piece, glimpsed beyond the protective fence at Memorial Park, has garnered mixed reaction from residents.

Alex Browne photo The Coastal Cradle art piece, glimpsed beyond the protective fence at Memorial Park, has garnered mixed reaction from residents.

Critics slam ‘broken eggbeater’, ‘hunk of metal’

Reaction mixed to public art installation on White Rock Promenade

A new public art work at White Rock’s waterfront Memorial Park has already made waves – including a flood of negative opinion online.

Coastal Cradle, a work commissioned by the city from Lethbridge, Alta., artist Andy Davies was installed Friday, overlooking the head of the pier.

The 17-foot tall aluminum piece, budgeted at $110,000 as a component of the current park upgrade, has been described by the artist on his website as symbolizing “blades (of grass), with a droplet of morning dew” to evoke both the both the “undulating beach, waves and tidal pools” of White Rock and “the suggestion of cradling (which) leads the viewer “to a place of tenderness, kindness, and the protection of something sacred.”

But while there have been some supportive online reactions to posts on the Peace Arch News website and Facebook page – and a Facebook post by Coun. Christopher Trevelyan on the sculpture – others have shown that not all area residents are impressed.

Comments range from “ugliest thing I’ve ever seen,” “more like spoon-bending,” “so corporate and rigid,” to “a broken eggbeater,” “hunk of metal,” “the hilt of a sword,” “horrific” and “eyesore.”

Trevelyan’s post compared the piece with another public art work – also commissioned by the former White Rock Coalition-dominated council – to commemorate the work of the women of the auxiliary at Peace Arch Hospital.

“Interesting that they removed four real trees at Peace Arch Hospital to install an aluminum tree, and then removed real grass at Memorial Park to install two 17-foot blades of aluminum grass,” he wrote. “I see a pattern developing…”

Asking for public feedback, Trevelyan went on to say, “I’m no art critic, and the piece is interesting and quite large in real life, but I can’t help but wonder if something unique or special to White Rock could have been built instead.

“Please correct me, but to my eyes this sculpture could appear in any park or public space in any city anywhere in Canada.”

Semiahmoo First Nation artist (and Surrey Civic Treasure) Roxanne Charles also commented on the piece and the Memorial Park location in Trevelyan’s post.

“In my personal opinion and as both an artist and member of this community it would have been nice to see the space reflect beyond the city of White Rock’s 60-year history and honour the historical site,” she wrote.

“Also it would be amazing if we could some how integrate less concrete surfaces and more indigenous plant space.”

Reaction is not all negative, however.

“Modern art doing what it’s intended to do – sparking conversation, head scratching and trolls,” Lucie Sinclair commented on PAN’s Facebook post.

“Personally, I like it – it remind me of the ‘wedding ring’ sculpture down at English Bay,” Coun. Helen Fathers told PAN.

She noted that she was a member of council in May of last year when the sculpture was approved by a unanimous vote.

“As a piece of art I can appreciate it,” she said. “Art is so subjective – what I like, you may not like. And public art is supposed to bring out conversation.”

Fathers said whether the location is the right spot for the art, or whether the Memorial Park upgrade project as a whole is a success, is something that remains to be seen – particularly once grass and trees are reintroduced at the space according to plan.

“Do I like it better than what was there before? I don’t. I think we needed to fix the washrooms, primarily.

“(But) I really want the project to be finished before we cast a decision on it.”

Fathers said, however, that she agreed with Coun. David Chesney’s comments in a council meeting late last year in which he said the city should make every effort to find local artists to create public art projects.

“Moving forward, we need to change our public art process,” she said. “We have awesome artists here, and we make a lot of noise about supporting local businesses, but when it comes to art, we go outside the community.”

One local work will be returning to the waterfront – Peninsula stone sculptor Joan Miriam Adams’ seven-foot granite piece, Metamorphosis, will be re-installed at the park Jan. 15, at 9 a.m., after a spent year in storage while upgrade work was underway.

Originally installed in 1988, Adams’ work represents a woman in the act of turning into a bird – a piece that, stylistically, pre-figured her Winged Lion Woman sculpture at Bear Creek Park, commissioned by the City of Surrey and installed in 1994.

Former city councillor Matt Todd also weighed in, to defend Davies’ piece, in a comment on Trevelyan’s post.

“I love it,” he wrote. “It’s bold, yet doesn’t dominate. Just like when the promenade was built, the only people who think it was a waste of money and ruined the beach are those who watched it being built.

“New visitors and future residents will love it,” he predicted.

Just Posted

Vehicles line up for the Greater Vancouver Drive-Thru Food Truck Festival at the Chilliwack Coliseum parking lot on March 27. The touring event comes to Abbotsford this weekend, May 15 and 16. (Photo: Jenna Hauck/Chilliwack Progress)
Drive-Thru Food Truck Festival takes place in Abbotsford

Event runs May 15 and 16 at Tradex, featuring 12 trucks each day

Mandarin Garden in Abbotsford had two event tents set up for outdoor dining. One of the tents, valued at more than $5,000, was stolen early Friday morning (May 14). (Submitted photo)
UPDATE: Dining tent stolen from Abbotsford restaurant is located

Owner says it would have cost more than $5,000 to replace the rented event tent

Chilliwack prolific offender Brian Stephan was wanted in late April 2021, but was arrested and charged after allegedly stealing a vehicle in Mission on May 5 and resisting arrest in Chilliwack. (RCMP file)
Wanted Chilliwack prolific offender arrested yet again

Brian Stephan allegedly stole a vehicle in Mission, committed a B&E, resisted arrest in Chilliwack on May 5

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

The new emergency department at Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre is slated to open June 8. (Screenshot from Province of BC video)
Expanded emergency department slated to open in June at Abbotsford Regional Hospital

Project cost $15 million with an additional $1.25 million donated for equipment

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial sex-offender acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Mike Farnworth, pre-pandemic. (File photo)
Surrey Police recruitment not distracting cops from shootings, Farnworth says

‘That’s simply not the case,’ Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth told the Now-Leader on Friday

Police are at Ecole Mount Prevost Elementary but the students have been evacuated. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Gardener finds buried explosives, sparking evacuation of Cowichan school

Students removed from school in an ‘abundance of caution’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read