Colorful sculpture to make its debut at Metro station

Mar 8, 2017

Few people would expect to find a sprawling sculpture of a DNA-like structure in a public transit station.

But given the fact that Allen-Medical Campus Metro Station is a transit gateway to the growing Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, officials say it’s a fitting home for a sculpture called “Gut Flora.”

Credit Albright-Knox Art Gallery

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery commissioned the work for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority as part of an effort to promote public art.

Artist Shasti O’Leary Soundant created the work which will be 15 feet tall and 25 feet wide.  The sculpture, which will be installed this spring, is made up of 260 pieces that are designed to resemble a “beneficial bacteria colony” that is required to keep people healthy.

WBFO talked with Aaron Ott, curator of public art at the Albright-Knox. He noted that the station is the base of the University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Aaron Ott, public art curator at Albright-Knox Art Gallery
Credit Albright-Knox Art Gallery

“The composition really had some resonance with the fact that this work was going to the newly renovated Allen street station for the NFTA where people are coming through the tunnels to their work experience or to the campus,” Ott said.

The work will stretch from the station’s floor to its ceiling, making it easy to see through the station windows on Main Street.  Ott said the work, which is being fabricated at Rigidized Metals Corp., will be quite vivid.

“It’s put together in this sort of interlocking forms, each one of which is independently powder coated in these very bright colors,” he said. “So it’ll be this moment in the station where you get this really kind of surprise of color in a space that is otherwise kind of neutral.”