By Danielle Leonard
It’s an unusually sunny day in mid-March when I visit the Pine Sanctuary – a soaring sculpture that is part of the City of Mississauga Public Art Collection, located at the entrance of Riverwood Conservancy. The start of spring seems a fitting time of year to admire the blue and green structure that rises, like blooms, toward the sky. Lifting my gaze to the top of the 20-foot-tall Pine Sanctuary, I feel spontaneously happy. I imagine the reaction would please the New York-based architect, Marc Fornes/THEVERYMANY, whose studio was commissioned to build it.
“This first glimpse of Pine Sanctuary instills a child-like sense of curiosity,” attests the studio’s website, theverymany.com. Described as both playful and mystical, the sculpture invites admirers to step inside its enclosure to peer upward while sunlight glints through its myriad openings. No two perspectives are the same, I realize, wandering in and around the structure.
The Pine Sanctuary’s vivid colours transition from light blue to bright green as the eye rises, which seems particularly poignant this time of year when the icy days of winter give way to spring. Although the design is inspired by the natural environment that surrounds it, the hues are more playful than earthy. This is done intentionally. The designer has chosen vibrant colours that lean toward what he describes as “iconic artificiality” – creating a whimsical flavour that contrasts with the more subdued colours of post-winter ground cover and still barren trees.
There leaves little doubt to any observer that the sculpture is designed to evoke a reaction –from contemplative to playful. This makes it a work of art that can be appreciated by all ages. Parents eager to introduce their kids to the skill of art appreciation may want to consider starting with Pine Sanctuary. Young ones will be naturally inclined to zig zag through it while sharing thoughts on its appearance. And, even if you can’t solicit much critique from your budding artist, it’s a great spot for Instagram pics.