Jet Trails (2008)

Inspired by the mottled patterns of jet exhaust across a blue sky, the artwork is located in a large, south-facing curtain wall in Terminal One at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, designed by German architect Helmut Jahn. The cool shades of blue, green and violet harmonize with the existing color climate found in the terminal, and the shape is suggestive of many things related to flying, such as a kite or the tail of an aircraft.

The curtain wall is on the route taken by connecting passengers and is immediately in front of a security screening checkpoint. The given task in the design competition was to do a piece mounted to the floor that would address this audience.

The artist felt this was not the best solution. There was a glare control problem in the south-facing wall that needed to be addressed. He also felt the primary audience should be those in the security line, a stressful place where time seems to stand still. An artwork on the floor would not be seen through all the screening equipment. By elevating the art overhead in the large window, it could be seen by both audiences and attractively screen the intense glare of the sun.

The intent of the artist was to create a calm, soothing environment. The scale of the artwork is appropriate to the site. The piece reads well from a distance for those in the security line at the back of the room, and unfolds with intricate detail and texture for the connecting passengers seeing it at close range.

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