A new sculpture by Los Angeles artist Alison Saar will be installed later this month at Metro’s Artesia Transit Center (*currently in transition to being renamed Harbor Gateway Transit Center). Entitled Paraje—Spanish for a resting place between two destinations—the cast stainless steel sculpture contains imagery inspired by the nearby Gardena Willows Wetlands Preserve.
The sculpture’s west face depicts a willow tree, while on the east face a willow spirit emerges mysteriously from the tree. The folds of the willow spirit’s dress become the roots of the tree and the spirit’s upheld arms become branches. The Preserve is one of the few remaining pristine willow marshes in Los Angeles, and willow groves, Saar learned, are known for their soothing shade.
Saar designed the sculpture so it would also serve as a windscreen, located on the busy west end of the station platform. It will be mounted on a 12-inch stainless steel base containing a quote by Japanese poet Saigo:
By the roadside
Cool spring water flowing
In the shade of a willow
“My artwork will be a reminder of the terrain’s natural history and provide passengers with shade and protection from the sun and wind,” states Saar. “Perhaps viewers will imagine an earlier time when the area was a haven of marshlands, and perhaps encourage investigation of the nearby Preserve.”
Saar’s sculpture was commissioned by Metro Art as part of a series of Metro improvements to the station’s physical environment.
Alison Saar exhibits nationally and internationally and her work is included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum, and The Hirshhorn Museum. Her work was recently featured at Otis College of Art and Design’s Ben Maltz Gallery. She is recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.