In 1827, John Galt, a Scottish novelist and entrepreneur, saw a potential for growth and opportunity in a location in Ontario that was nestled between the eastern edge of the Huron Tract and York, at the confluence of the Speed and Eramosa rivers (Anderson/ Matheson, 2001). The presence of these elements enhanced John Galt’s vision for a city that would thrive on its own use of natural resources and agricultural growth. Born out of the innovative central radial design that respects as well as complements the surrounding topography, the city of Guelph flourishes in John Galt’s vision, with a thriving local economy that includes farmer’s markets, local businesses and top tier agricultural research facilities.This particular installation within The Wilson Street Promenade strives to embody the essence of that vision.The concept for “Ripples” uses familiar imagery of natural resources and the urban fabric of Guelph and recontextualizes these images to form new perspectives on our relationship with place and locality. The artwork repurposes cartographic forms of expression to explore ephemeral ways of conveying landscape and the non-material energy of space. Paying homage to the existing resource of oak, maple and ash trees in the surrounding greenbelt (Anderson/ Matheson, 2001), the curvilinear elements cascade from the central point in the form of tree rings- personifying growth, while the rippling quality speaks to the presence of the Speed and Eramosa rivers. Cutting through this symbology is a stripped down essence of the plan of downtown Guelph, bringing light to the radial design that is unique to the city’s urban fabric. The streets and ecology act as cracks through the natural growth, manifesting itself within the curvilinear forms and marking its presence and singular identity.
Ripples, Oil on Plywood, 4’ x 8’, by Arijit Debnath, 2015.
About the artist
Arijit Debnath is an illustrator and designer based in Toronto, Ontario.