John McEwen, Search Radio

John McEwen, Search Radio, 2001, steel. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid
John McEwen’s Search Radio is about the endless, restless power of imagination and the sublime universe that holds our endless fascination. This work is integral to the fabric of the MacLaren’s brick-and-mortar building, animating this staircase down into the lower Mulcaster Landing. A scattering of stars, concentrating in the lower right triangle, leads into the MacLaren’s boardroom. Visible from the street outside, this massive steel structure shimmers when the interior lighting shines through the perforate stars.

“Every day we casually or carefully move our stuff and business around the material world of daily life. A galaxy, a backdrop of ‘stars’ speaks both of our place in the universe and the very human condition. Search Radio implies several radios set against that backdrop—the radio waves used in celestial exploration and the very imaginary but non-visual life of the radio-listening audience…”

—John McEwen

John McEwen was born in Toronto in 1945, and currently lives and works in Hillsdale, Ontario. Co-founder and former director of A Space, an artist-run centre in Toronto, McEwen was honoured in 2007 with a Doctorate of Fine Arts from the University of Lethbridge, Alberta. He is recognized both internationally and across Canada for his many site-specific installations and public commissions.