To date Gonzales-Day has completed three major public art projects. The Los Angeles County Administrative Building on Vermont and 85th Street in South Central Los Angeles which include four large scale photographic images fired on ceramic tile. The Canoga Station of the Metro Gold Line in the Valley, which includes four large baked enamel images, and two mosaics. And most recent, the public art work for the LAPD Metro Division Facility on Temple and Benton Way includes eleven baked enamel images in the Echo Park region of Los Angeles.
METRO ORANGE LINE – CANOGA STATION
Western Imaginary, 2012
Two 40 in. x 264 in. photographic images (two-sided enamel on metal panels) and two mosaic ovals
96 in. x 312 in.
Ken Gonzales-Day’s photographs subtly refer to history embedded in the local landscape. Large, enamel steel art panels alongside platform seating areas depict views of surrounding mountains that overlook the valley. The wide, panoramic views are reminiscent of Westerns filmed in the hills from 1912-1960. Because the scenes are composite views, they act as ideal, imagined landscapes tinged with cowboy nostalgia. Stone and glass mosaic paving patterns depict kaleidoscopic views of native manzanita and oak trees, inviting passengers to find shapes and faces hidden within the natural patterns.
“Inspired by the community’s interest in drawing attention to the natural environment and combined with my own longstanding interest in both California history and native species, I decided to bring the natural environment into the station environment. I wanted to create artworks that would function on a number of levels and could respond to the specific needs of the site: one, to soften the stucco corridors and vast parking lots that surround it; two, to enhance the station itself; and three, I wanted to create something that would be a source of pride for local residents and of interest to those passing through.”
LOS ANGELES COUNTY ADMINISTRATIVE BUILDING
Vermont at 84th Street, Los Angeles
In 2007, ICO Vermont, LLC completed a four-story, 220,000 square foot office building with a childcare center and retail space. The County of Los Angeles leased the new building for four County departments: Social Services, Children and Family Services, Child Support Services, and Mental Health. The facility houses 1,200 workers and 1,400 daily visitors.
Ken Gonzales-Day’s artwork softens and adds color to key walls within the building. He used photographic glazed tiles recessed into wall surfaces to create four murals. The high-quality 12” x 12” ceramic tile images are durable and graffiti resistant.
Ken Gonzales-Day’s murals depict imagery which is appropriate to the site and its uses. Occupied by County departments with the largest concentration of social service caseloads in the County, Gonzales-Day’s artworks add a calming effect to a sometimes tense environment. Large-scale images of traditional old California landscapes (mostly oak trees) are strategically placed throughout the building. Overall, Gonzales-Day’s work evokes a pure unaltered landscape full of optimism and possibility. It might also suggest a dreamscape of quiet, calm and purity on which the viewer might play out his or her hopes for a better tomorrow.
LAPD METRO DIVISION
Public Art Project at Temple and Benton Way
19 40in. x 80in. enamel on metal panels
This public art project is not a history of sculpture. It is a series of photographs of cultural artifacts representing people, both real and imagined, from various continents and created at various moments in history, from antiquity to the middle of the 20th century. Cast, carved and broken, these objects are reminders of the philosophical, metaphysical, spiritual, legal and scientific understandings of social constructions of race and racial difference over the course of 500 years. Given the diversity of this site and its history within the Los Angeles Police Department, this public artwork was created as an opportunity to re-imagine its past, current and future relationships with the many communities it serves.
Commissioned by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the Los Angeles Police Department.
UNION STATION – LIGHTBOX SERIES
“A new exhibition of three artists’ work is on display inside Union Station illuminating the passageway walls connecting Union Station East and West. Organized by Metro Art, the display consists of thirty-six lightboxes and showcases photographic artwork.
The presentation, titled “Divining Los Angeles Landscapes,” introduces 36 photographic artworks created by three prominent artists: Joyce Campbell, Ken Gonzales-Day and John Humble. Each artist contributed twelve photographs organized around themes of nature, the unnatural and supernatural.
This is only the second exhibition of artwork to enliven the passageway. The first photographic artworks to be featured celebrated Union Station as “The Heart of Los Angeles” on the occasion of its 75th anniversary in 2014.
Ken Gonzales-Day’s vibrant color photographs, titled Oak and Thistle: Views of the Santa Monica and San Gabriel Mountains, feature Los Angeles County’s natural recreation areas and green spaces, which highlight the beauty of California’s landscape. The series depicts the rolling hills and native flora of western Los Angeles at Cheeseboro and Palo Comado Canyon and captures the foothill woodlands that run along the San Gabriel Mountains to the east through images taken at Descanso Gardens. By presenting the wilder edges of the Los Angeles landscape, the artist hopes to provide commuters and visitors to Union Station an opportunity for contemplation, and perhaps serve as an invitation to visit some of the many places where nature can still be enjoyed.”
Commissioned by METRO Arts and on view July 1, 2015- Dec. 1, 2016
Source: The Source