"Lapis Philosophorum"

by Janet Saad-Cook (2001)

Reflexite Corporation, Avon, CT

Medium: Sky/Sunlight, Earth/Time, Stone, Steel, and Glass



Artist Statement:

"The rock, all matter, all life, is charged with dharmakaya~…everything is emptiness and everything is compassion…It does not need to be discovered. It is we who need to discover it…a Zen garden, a span of bareness and openness and evidence…a beautiful and holy vision." Thomas Merton, The Asian Journal.

From the moment I first stepped into Reflexite's courtyard, I experienced this space as a themenos, a sacred enclosure, layered with meaning. I was struck by its location, in the "heart" of the building, where it is fully visible from most places inside the building. I began to see, as Merton says: "…a Zen garden, a span of bareness and openness and evidence…"

I designed a garden of light rooted in the earth, a contemplative, meditative space where each sunny day the Sun Drawing returns. My hope is that during the day when everyone inside the building is working, there will be moments they glance out into the garden and find something there that gives them a sense of peace and awareness. I chose the "earth element" of stones, minerals, the bones of the earth, because they have been used by humanity for thousands of years for their power to touch the soul. The changing Sun Drawing images emphasize sunlight and the sky; the stones bring us back to the earth and time. ... statement cont'd & more pictures

Up close, the intricate patterns and colors of the Sun Drawing are revealed.

From the outset, Janet Saad-Cook saw the open-sky, central courtyard of Reflexite's headquarters building as a sacred center and designed the Zen stone garden in response.

By creating a Zen Garden setting in which the Sun Drawing resides, the Artist has provided a haven of calm and peace within this modern technological center.

Starting at the garden's southeast corner at 9:30 AM, the Sun Drawing slowly moves across the east wall marking the passage of the sun across the sky.


Stone Spiral
In the center of the garden floor Saad-Cook has positioned very special stones into a spiral. The stones come from those parts of the earth where Reflexite has facilities. In thinking about this site as the technology center of a worldwide organization, the Artist wanted to create a special marker in the garden acknowledging the importance of each "member company." The Artist asked the employee-owners at each location to participate in this work of art by selecting a stone or mineral to represent them in the garden spiral. It is the artist's intention that the stones and minerals bring together the energy from all these locations that are part of this very special employee-owned company. The spiral form, rich with the meaning of life unfolding, symbolizes growing outward into the world. As Reflexite grows, new stones will be added to the spiral, reminding everyone of this process.


Crystalline Geometry
The blue stone pavers inscribed into the bed of river rock create a crystalline geometric form. Artist Janet Saad-Cook abstracted this form from the retroreflective patterns used by Reflexite to manufacture many of its products. In Alchemy this geometric form is the seal of Hermes, the hermetic seal of silence. In the alchemical process this symbol appears on the surface of the mercurial substance as a sign that gold is being born, the Son of the Sun - the Philosopher's Stone - is emerging.


Artist Statement cont'd & more pictures
More pictures of the Reflexite installation
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Last updated 21 Sep 2001 © Photos and text copyrighted.