This week’s featured outdoor art is a piece that has had Queen’s students and faculty, community members, and tourists baffled for years. I remember when I was at Queen’s and I had no idea this was even a piece of art. Many students just assumed it was left over from some structure that had once been there. It wasn’t until I began this project and spoke with some people about art in Kingston that I understood this strange white box on the front lawn of Theological Hall.
Ground Outline was created by Peter Kolisnyk in 1978 and installed at the Harbourfront in Toronto. The piece explores the processes of representation and perception. In other words, it makes us aware of our surroundings by bringing our attention not to the object itself but to the environment encompassing it, including us. At the Harbourfront, it allowed viewers to catch a glimpse of Lake Ontario and the waterfront through its frame.
When it was purchased by Queen’s through the Chancellor Richardson Memorial Fund and Wintario in 1981, the campus was thoroughly surveyed to find the most appropriate spot for this work. It was placed on the sweeping slope of Summerhill, providing a frame through which one can view the landscape with a heightened awareness of our place in it. Ground Outline changes depending on where you stand so go have a look and be sure to see it from many angles.