Conversation Piece: “Transect” by Julia Reimer and Tyler Rock

Next time you’re on Capital Boulevard, check out this stunning piece.

Photography Liam Mackenzie

What does Edmonton’s Capital Boulevard have in common with the Prime Minister’s office and the Emperor of Japan’s home?

They can all boast that they have works from renowned Alberta glass blowers Julia Reimer and Tyler Rock. Their piece, “Transect,” was unveiled on 108th Street last year, as part of the Canada 150 celebrations. Through a partnership with the Alberta Foundation of the Arts, the Government of Canada and the City, five new sculptures were commissioned to celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial.

You can find “Transect” in the middle of 108th Street, between 99th and 100th Avenues. If you approach from the north, you get an awfully nice view of the art, with the dome of the Legislature rising in the background.

If you walk into the little circular plaza that’s home to the piece, you’ll see that “Transect” is made up of a globe within a globe. On each globe, there are aqua-coloured panels of glass. Some of them have been shaped to make like they are holding fossils – as if these relics were trapped in glacial ice. And, other panels feature photographs from Alberta’s pioneer days, from barn-building to the clearing of land.

Be careful, though. While 108th Street is not super-clogged with traffic, the work of art was placed in between two opposing lanes of traffic. The glass panels are meant to be enjoyed up close, so no matter which direction you come from, you need to walk out onto the street to get near the art.

The metal globes look very futuristic, as if they belong in a science-fiction movie. But, the fact that the glass panels reveal a look back at Alberta’s history offers a rather unique mix of modern design with historic archives.

Reimer and Rock are the couple behind Firebrand Glass Studio, located in Black Diamond, Alta. Their work is globally renowned, and their work can be found in the Premier of Alberta’s collection, the Prime Minister’s office and in the royal residences of Japan.

If you like their piece on 108th Street, head north a few blocks and you can buy a piece from Rock or Reimer for your own personal collection. Their glass sculptures can be found at the Alberta Craft Council’s gallery at 10186 106th Street.

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