AAJ Press
Art & Public Space, Art Projects, Commissions & Projects, Sculpture, Transit

John Maine: Sea Strata. Green Park, London. Art on the Underground

John Maine’s Sea Strata is a new work of art and integral element of the improvement and upgrading for Green Park Underground station commissioned by Art on the Underground. Maine’s work utilises simple forms such as rings, columns and cones as well as an element of drawing to create large outdoor sculpture in stone which relates to the surrounding landscape. The concept was to develop a unified work that was grounded in the natural world of paleontology for the walls and flooring at the entrance for Green Park station. There are two related elements of the artwork: the Portland stone cladding of the station buildings with related walls and coping; and the granite pavement, which has been incised with a sequence of spirals.

“I wanted to the use the Portland stone of the walls to explore the natural composition of the rock and to draw out the internal structure of the material, revealing the fossil remains of marine creatures from 150 million years ago. I imagined the four small buildings as outcrops with strata linking across from one to another. By rounding the corners of the buildings, they take on a more solid feel, and the various bands wrapping around the walls emphasize the natural layers, which you would find in a Portland quarry.

I selected a bed of stone that is particularly rich in fossils; the so-called ‘spiral gastropods’, which look like small arrows made from sharp cone forms. In the stone they may be no more than 8 cms long, but I examined them closely and decided to draw them on a much larger scale. I have incised these fossil enlargement drawings on a band of clear stone that runs around all the buildings.

The wall coping combines with drip courses on the buildings to establish clear horizontals which reveal the Portland stone as more than a simple laminate. It has become a sculptural form.

The skirting of the buildings is made of muchharder granite, from the famous old quarries at Kemnay in Aberdeenshire. The floor is paved with granite from various countries, each slab marked with an incised spiral. In the eighteenth century there was a rectangular reservoir at this very spot, where people promenaded. The turbulent paving now acts as a reminder of that surface of water, and also refers to the layering of fossils which once formed the sea bed.”  John Maine

From 9 November to 18 December 2011, at the Royal Academy in Piccadilly, John
Maine RA will make a new interior sculpture in his exhibition Artists’ Laboratory 04,
After Cosmati

Images: John Maine. Sea Strata, Photographs by Daisy Hutchison. courtesy of Art on the Underground.



About jeh

Jeremy Hunt is Director of the AAJ Press (Art & Architecture Journal / Press) – a writer and consultant on art and public space


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