Microscopic organisms living under our feet get displayed as large and colourful sculptures hanging from SkyTrain pillars in this artwork.

 Karen Kazmer - Underfoot Yet Overhead (Part 2)

Artist: Karen Kazmer
Location: SkyTrain pillars near Holland Park
Category: Civic collection
Year: 2009

Underfoot Yet Overhead (Part 2)

The design of the Holland Park series of Underfoot Yet Overhead artworks refer to microscopic organisms, specifically bacteria that form an invisible, yet essential, part of our ecosystem. The artist focussed on bacteria that live in the soil and cause dead matter to decompose. Such decomposition returns essential nutrients to the soil and enables new life to emerge.

Here, colourful sculptures cut from metal sheets are mounted on the SkyTrain pillars. Their abstract, organic forms reflect types of bacteria, shifting what is unseen beneath our feet into high visibility above our heads. The perforated metal sheets increase in number from pillar to pillar, reflecting how bacteria increase in nature. Motion-sensored, solar-powered lights and reflective plastic domes illuminate the work at night.

More on Underfoot Yet Overhead (Part 2)

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About the Artist

Karen Kazmer is a Vancouver-based visual artist who specializes in mixed-media installations and public art projects. Her work is often site-specific and addresses both the human body and the ways we position ourselves within social spaces. For her City Centre public art projects, she has drawn on her recent interest in the microscopic world and its unseen relationships to our everyday lives and activities.

Born in the Chicago area, Kazmer studied at Loyola University, the University of British Columbia, and York University. She has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in both the United States and Canada, from Toronto to San Francisco and from Burnaby to Portland. Her public art commissions and purchases include projects for the City of Vancouver, the City of Richmond, and the City and District of North Vancouver.