Impel 3: Linking interior + exterior

When architect Todd Pape and his wife Tracie started planning a conversion of their 3-car garage into a flexible indoor/outdoor space, they say that one of the things they agreed on early in the planning process was that they wanted to incorporate my art into the space. Love that. Todd, Tracie and their two school-aged (soccer fanatic) sons live on an astonishing country-in-the-city half-acre lot in the middle of Evanston. The original 1910 farmhouse is perched at one corner of the yard and at the other is a low-slung terracotta and brick clad garage. Rather than tackling a home renovation, Todd and Tracie saw the potential to convert their seldom used garage into a sleek indoor-outdoor multi-purpose space. Re-envisioning some of the building's original functional elements, Todd designed a minimal space that almost disappears as it points toward the outdoor world. Garage doors flood the space with natural light. When opened, the entire west wall disappears to create a literal indoor-outdoor connection--and in fact the garage door on the east wall can also be opened for an entirely open space. The original industrial concrete floors have been polished and stained a warm caramel. A mahogany pergola over a bluestone patio extends the space well into the yard and creates a striking facade for the 1-story building.

Todd and Tracie picked the Impel art series as the starting point for this commission. A nature-inspired palette of blues, greens and neutrals connects the work with their expansive yard and garden. Impel offers a social landscape, entities in interaction with each other and the environment leading to constant evolution and change. Impel1 and Impel2 were completed in 2009 and were my first large-scale pieces using sheet glass. I was thrilled with my newfound freedom to cut in glass the lines and forms I could envision and draw. Three years later, my cutting technique has continued to progress and new lines and refined forms can be seen in Impel3. I love the implication of constant movement and impingements that leave us changed and re-shaped, only to be changed again. The social landscape ideas connect directly with Tracie's work as a therapist and meditation mentor. And, in fact, one of the primary uses of the space will be Tracie's mediation practice.

At the entrance to the space, Todd had 8" x 8" niches constructed on either side of the door, lit by overhead sconces. Two 8" x 8" Impels cropped from the larger piece and worked at a much larger scale to create self-contained compositions prime the viewer for the full size Impel3 (24" x 24") seen directly upon entering the space. The interior wall where Impel3 hangs is painted with black chalkboard paint, adding a playful, kid-friendly feature to the space while at the same time creating a dramatic backdrop against which Impel3 floats and shimmers.