Quebec Bridge Series (each work has two details that follow)

Iron Ring (Quebec Bridge: First Design and Collapse, 1907), 2009

thread on paper, 22 x 30 inches


Iron Ring (Quebec Bridge: Second Design, 1916), 2009

thread on paper, 22 x 30 inches


The Quebec Bridge, which crosses the Saint Lawrence River in Canada, is the largest cantilever bridge in the world. In 1907, after four years of construction, the bridge collapsed into the river in just 15 seconds. Of the 86 workers on the bridge that day, 75 were killed and the rest were injured. Years later, construction started on a second bridge. In 1916, when the central span was being raised into position, it fell into the river, killing 13 workers. This section was rebuilt, and construction was ultimately completed in 1917, at a total cost of $25 million and 89 bridge worker’s lives. In 1919, the Quebec Bridge opened for rail traffic, after almost two decades of construction. Its center span of 549 meters (1800 ft) remains the longest cantilevered bridge span in the world and is considered a major engineering feat. It was commonly rumored that the iron and steel from the bridge collapse was used to forge the early Iron Rings worn by Canadian Engineers starting in 1925. Although this was not actually the case, the idea holds a kind of poetic logic that helped propel the rumor. 


I choose to depict architectural forms using flexible, delicate materials like thread and paper to serve as a metaphor for ideas about strength and weakness. The assumption that these forms are inherently strong and that thread and paper are weak, is a concept I enjoy challenging in both the form and content of the work. Questioning perceptions of what may be strong or weak, reliable, or tenuous in our daily lives is at the heart of this work. These pieces are inspired by the failure that the first bridge design represents as well as the awesome strength of the second design, which still upholds today.


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