St. Mary’s Regional Health Center
Natural stone, enameled glass smalti, aluminum, gold, ebonized white oak, 102” x 239”
St. Mary’s Regional Health Center is a new SSM facility located atop the rolling hills surrounding Jefferson City, MO. Because the SSM organization holds nature and beauty as important contributors to the healing of their patients, the hospital features many artworks, including the Mosaic Wall. Situated in the Main Lobby & Entrance, it is visible to the exterior from multiple approaches, welcomes visitors into the shelter of the hospital. The mosaic’s complex textures and rich colors depart from the building’s neutral color scheme and introduce an art experience into an otherwise purely functional space.
SSM requested an image that reflected their spirituality and heritage. Their mission statement says, “Through our exceptional healthcare services, we reveal the healing presence of God.” The Mosaic Wall depicts a sunrise/sunset and calls forth the poetic associations of lightness and darkness, beginning and end, and life and death.
Because the architecture gives countless views of the surrounding natural landscape, the mosaic references nature in a more subtle way. The lower portion symbolizes “healthcare services.” It depicts the landscape in a desaturated language suggestive of medical imaging, marked by a “horizontal blur,” as in a sonogram. The upper portion symbolizes “the healing presence of God.” The sun transforms the landscape around it into a brilliant and arresting field of interpenetrating colors. Here, vertical forms become less distinct, merging into one another with the sun at their center.
The mosaic is 239’’ in length and composed of 15 panels, each framed in ebonized white oak curved to the radius of the wall. As visitors move laterally across the mosaic, its vertical panels measure their horizontal gait. When viewed individually, each panel eludes representation and collapses into abstraction. From a distance, a representational image reveals itself in the multiple panels.
In mosaic, andamento refers to the arrangement or movement of the tesserae and smalti; it typically corresponds to shifts in color and form. In this color-field mosaic, the andamento is independent of color and form, creating an additional layer of complexity and movement. The natural stone tesserae course horizontal, while the smalti above follow a complex network of intersecting circles.
2015 CODAawards Finalist, Healthcare Category
St. Mary’s Regional Health Center, Jefferson City, MO
Project Designer: Beth Trueblood, the Lawrence Group