Toward Healing

Toward Healing was commissioned for the lobby of Penn State’s College of Medicine at the Hershey Medical center in Hershey PA. It was done in collaboration with James Lard, and is based on two wall arrangements organized around Fibonacci spirals. These spirals are constructed mathematically, using the “golden ratio” to form a progressively larger arrangement of “golden rectangles”. They are often found in natural forms, like those made during the growth of snail shells, or seen in the patterns of stars in galaxies. We chose the spiral because it is flexible, has historic associations with beauty, is found in many cultures and time periods, and has a bit of mystery about it.

We developed our compositions by using individual units of similar sizes and materials, though the units in the “open” composition on the left wall as you enter have greater variation in size, shape, and material. There are 144 units on the left wall, while the assemblage over the Dean’s office has 416 units. 144 is a number with in the Fibonacci sequence, while the 416 units fill a golden rectangle. The Fibonacci spiral can be found in both installations, but the spiral takes a different form in each.

The compositions are designed to be seen together, and to embody different “states” that relate to the work of the College of Medicine. These states suggest simple binaries such as raw and refined, the natural and the civilized, chaos and order, two different points in time, diversity and unity, or illness and health.