River of Time by Cha-Rie Tang
Artist Cha-Rie Tang’s Monrovia Station artwork River of Time combines a treasure trove of sumptuous materials and is a thoughtful meshing of natural elements and handcrafted design. Calling forth the power of earth, water, and light, Tang uses ceramic tiles, glass, and a monolithic rock to invite and envelope transit riders in an environment designed to celebrate Monrovia’s rich architectural heritage and natural beauty.
At the base of the entrance ramps leading to the train platforms stands a treasure from China via Rosemead Gardens, a sculptural rock carved by eons of flowing water. This monument is the “mountain” to the artist’s “glittering stream.” The stream is a pool of water made of thousands of tiny, reflective glass triangles handcrafted by Tang. As the artist says, “running water is a potent force guided by the esthetics of chance,” and Tang has created a light-filled tribute to this essential element.
The suggestion of water is carried throughout her station artwork. Along the ramps leading up to the station platforms, Tang has placed a field of “watercolor tiles” hand-glazed to suggest a river flowing up/down the ramps. Once on the station platforms, riders will find the column bases lined with decorative relief tiles associated with the California Arts and Crafts Movement — Batchelder, Claycraft, CALCO, Alhambra Kilns — along with Tang’s own contributions. Tiles by Ernest Batchelder (1875-1957) are well known and are especially treasured by Monrovians. Many residents generously invited Tang to make impressions of their original Batchelder tiles, which she then used to make molds, so the station’s collection of tiles would be a comprehensive display of Batchelder’s renowned designs.
“We are travelers, both literally and metaphorically. We experience the world depending on our frame of reference and by the time we have. On foot or by train, looking down or looking ahead, close up or from afar we bring ourselves, our histories with us. At the Monrovia Station the art reveals patterns and layers of meaning as you experience it in your travels.”
About the Artist
Cha-Rie Tang is a Pasadena-based artist who combines her artistic and architectural training to form exquisite compositions out of ceramic tile and glass to celebrate humankind’s relationship with nature. Tang received a Bachelor of Science in Art and Design from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Master of Architecture from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her public art commissions span Los Angeles and Orange Counties and include Pasadena’s A.R.T. Bus, the City of Los Angeles Public Library at Exposition Park, Los Angeles County Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, and the City of Mission Viejo Arts Alive Festivals. She was nominated for the 1996 Computerworld/Smithsonian Award for Excellence for her work as principal on the Direct Imagination team that published the Grammar of Ornament CD-ROM. Tang was named by Pasadena Foothills Magazine as one of the top 50 Creative People in 2011 and was also called out as one of the Best of Worldwide Glass Artists (Kennedy Publishing).