"Quaternion" by Alyson Schotz, at Fourth Church in Chicago

Quaternion, 2014
by Alyson Shotz
Dichroic film laminated onto acrylic, approx. 17' x 10' x 10'

(Scroll to bottom for more photos of the sculpture)

Part of the Jeanne and Tom Olofson Collection of Sacred Art

This art installation, created in memory of Dana Ferguson Myers and dedicated on May 11, 2014, was made possible by the generosity of Jeanne and Tom Olofson and dozens of Dana’s friends and family.

 

The Story of the Sculpture | About the Art | About the Artist

The Story of the Sculpture

The chapel art installation, part of the Jeanne and Tom Olofson Collection of Sacred Art, was created in memory of Dana Ferguson Myers, who joined the Fourth Presbyterian Church staff as Associate Pastor for Mission in 1998. In that role she expanded the congregation’s many mission and outreach programs, including global mission trips, Tutoring, and the Elam Davies Social Service Center, and ministered to the congregation through her compassionate pastoral presence. She was named Executive Associate Pastor in 2005, a position she held until her death at the age of forty-two in 2008.

Dana lived out her call to ministry by serving others, whether members of the congregations where she was pastor or in the communities neighboring them, and remained committed to ensuring the church focused on mission and service. She leaves a legacy of joyfully embracing life and ministering to those in need.

“Jesus says to the disciples, ‘I am preparing a place for you.’ And so he has. For all of us. This journey of life is the journey to that place, the striving to know as closely as we can in this life the Christ we will know for all eternity.”
          —Dana Ferguson Myers, April 2008

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About the Art: In the Words of the Artist

Suspended in front of the southeast windows of Buchanan Chapel, this sculpture catches and reflects light as the sculpture moves through the space throughout the day. It is composed of two stacked ellipses, the top ellipse rotated approximately forty degrees in opposition to the bottom ellipse. The resulting shape is reminiscent of a Mobius strip or unending surface. I designed this specific shape for the Fourth Church commission since it so directly references the concept of the eternal, which is also present in the design of the chapel’s labyrinth.

I chose to use dichroic film laminated onto acrylic as the primary material because it is directly related to the spirit of Dana Fegurson herself. Dana was a colorful person with very positive energy who absorbed and reflected those around her, enhancing the lives of her congregation. This sculpture also reflects the community around it, quite literally, changing each moment of every day. It is beautiful, kinetic, and unpredictable, as Dana was.

The sculpture also has a quality in between presence and absence. It changes constantly, appearing at times very substantial and full of color; at other times and from other angles very ethereal and almost invisible. The motion of the sun throughout the day, the change in light over the seasons, and even the movement of a congregation member from one seat to the next changes the appearance of this sculpture dramatically.

Seen through the window and from the street, it will have these same qualities—sometimes appearing full of color and, at other times, more subtle. It can also be lit at night to have a stronger appearance if desired.

The piece also has movement and flow incorporated into its shape, so that in addition to change in color there is change in shape as one sees it from one angle or another.

—Alyson Schotz, 2014

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About the Artist

Guided by an interest in the natural world, Alyson Shotz constructs art across a variety of media ranging from sculpture to prints to animation. Her works simultaneously mirror and refract elements of the universe, merging the realms of art and artifice. A 1987 graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Alyson has exhibited in numerous public and private institutions, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Hirshhorn Museum, and the Guggenheim Museum.

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For more information about art at Fourth Church, contact Rob Koon, Coordinator of Fine Arts (312.981.3593).

 

More photos of “Quaternion,” taken at various times of the day to show how the colors change with the light:

"Quaternion" by Alyson Schotz, at Fourth Church in Chicago

"Quaternion" by Alyson Schotz, at Fourth Church in Chicago

"Quaternion" by Alyson Schotz, at Fourth Church in Chicago

"Quaternion" by Alyson Schotz, at Fourth Church in Chicago

"Quaternion" by Alyson Schotz, at Fourth Church in Chicago

"Quaternion" by Alyson Schotz, at Fourth Church in Chicago