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MTA Arts & Design


Beach 36 Street

George Bates

Symphonic Convergence 1&2, 2011

Glass block

A dominant theme in George Bates’ work is convergence and how nature, objects, and people meet and form a greater whole. If you view only the individual components of the whole you may fail to see the larger ideas and systems to which they are connected. At B.36th Street, he designed a lyrical composition with a bold, yet playful spirit, that expresses his feelings about the Rockaways. Created in glass block in the station stair landings, the glass brings in light and brightens the station. The design on the south bound side, which receives the strongest light, features a spiral formed of people’s heads, rendered in deep blue and heavy line. These are profiles that overlap one another, building up and snowballing into a large element, a community. This main section is accented by bursts and waves of color, pops of yellow among strikes of blue and occasional reds. Different elements were designed to reveal themselves at closer viewing. From afar the works reads as one unified design.

The northbound side of the station also has a large circular form; here it is bands of waving color set among abstracted and small scale geometric patterns. In the rhythm and flavor of the work, Bates shows his expertise as an artist who is best known for a vivid and animated style. Here he distills the essence of the beach side community that surrounds Beach 36 Street – with a spirited joyous rendition that achieves its musical like title, with its waves and crescendos of color, pattern and form.

The art will resonate over time with riders making their daily commute to and from the station. In addition, the strong ocean light will project through the thick glass and the bands of color, creating colorful shadows that change as the sun passes overhead. At night the glass block artwork will appear to glow from within due to the station’s mezzanine interior light.

Bates is familiar with the neighborhood and the state of mind found in New York City’s beachfront string of neighborhoods. An avid surfer, he has been a regular visitor for over twenty years, forming bonds with locals and the landscape, in which he is pleased to have a hand, in his permanent artwork at the station.

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