Panya Clark Espinal

Generations, 2010, installation view

Generations, 2010, installation view

Generations, 2010, detail

Generations, 2010, detail

Generations, 2010, installation view

Generations, 2010, installation view

Generations, 2010, installation view

Generations, 2010, installation view

Generations, 2010

Public Art Commission for
the Toronto Transit Commission

powder-coated washers bolted to perforated aluminum panel; overall dimension 2.5 x 40 feet

In Generations, portraits of an older woman and a young girl (the artist’s grandmother and daughter) are placed at opposite ends of a long panel. Their faces are composed of “pixels” created from coloured washers bolted to a perforated substrate, creating a photographic effect. The two images are visually linked by a series of geometric rings based on Spirograph drawings that run between them.

When creating a Spirograph drawing, lines seem unconnected at first, and the final pattern is usually one that can’t be seen at the beginning. In the context of Generations, the looping spirals generated by this childhood toy are suggestive of DNA helixes, and the Spirograph operates as a metaphor for the invisible connections that are passed across generations. While on a physical level there may only ever be an ethereal and abstract connection between the artist’s daughter and her grandmother, both her genes and her name have been passed down, creating a very different but vital link between two people.