collaboration with Ralph Helmick
dimenensions: 28’ h 15’ w 15’ d
materials: cast metal, stainless cable
site: Midway Airport, Chicago, IL
commissioned by: Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs

Rara Avis is an epic suspended sculpture poetically linking natural and manmade aviation. Comprised of thousands of precisely suspended pewter elements, the artwork employs a three-dimensional Pointillism wherein numerous small sculptures coalesce into a large evanescent composite form.

Travelers approaching the center of Midway Airport’s new passenger terminal will perceive a monumental image of a cardinal. Upon closer examination a perceptual shift occurs as the large avian form reveals itself to be composed of over 1800 small aircraft.

A wide spectrum of these component elements is rendered, ranging from Leonardo-inspired designs to 19th century balloons to classic passenger airliners to 21st century spacecraft. Over fifty different aircraft are represented, all distinct, and all coming together to render a macrocosmic image of the Illinois state bird.

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