Department of Cultural Affairs NYCulture City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs NYCulture City of New York

Percent for Art

   Colin Chase

Breath and Mandala, Designs on Glass, 2002,

 Credit: Michael Imlay

    See Also Elegy for El-Hajj Malik Shabazz

Breath and Mandala

Completion Date:



Designs on Glass




Queens Hospital Center


164th St., between Grand Central Parkway and Union Turnpike, Queens


Davis Brody Bond / Perkins & Will

Sponsor Agency:

Health and Hospitals Corporation

Design Agency:

Dormitory Authority of the State of New York

Colin Chase is a sculptor with a passion for visual language that explores art as a possible source for meditation and contemplation. His work for the Queens Hospital Center consists of two series entitled Breath and Mandala. The Breath series features a bird motif that flows left and right and the Mandala series utilizes a variety of symbols related to ideas of healing, power, and spirituality. The work is executed on clear glass and mirrors using serigraphs as well as combinations of lightly etched and deep carving sand blasting. The pieces were designed for multiple spaces throughout the building: the façade, the interior lobby, windows, four elevator lobbies, and a glass protective barrier above the escalator. The format and basis for this project revolved around the concept of nature and the emblematic woman as an icon for protection and care. The Mandala series utilizes a 28 member ancient matrix, known for medicine wheels and calendar systems based on phases of the moon, emphasizing the significance of time in an ever-changing, yet nurturing, environment. Several other symbols such as the tree of life (a source of nourishment), a triangle or dragon's eye (a protective symbol), and the sign of Venus (a biological allusion to femininity) are an integral part of the design. The series of four glass mandalas were created for the elevator lobbies on the second through fifth floors. Other central images in the design are the triquetra and the mandorla. The triquetra, regarded as a protective symbol, were also viewed as a focus for magical powers. The single mandorla symbolizes the intersection of the two spheres: heaven and earth, or spirit and matter.

About the Artist...
Born in Newark, New Jersey, Colin Chase received his MFA from the University of Michigan School of Art and Design, his BFA from Cooper Union School of Art, and an AAS from the Fashion Institute of Technology. His work has been included in one person and group exhibitions and several galleries including the Jamaica Arts Center, Socrates Sculpture Park, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Neuberger Museum of Art. He is a former resident of the Institute for Contemporary Art, P.S. 1 Museum, The Studio Museum in Harlem and Longwood Studios. Colin Chase is represented by the June Kelly Gallery in New York. The Queens Hospital commission is the second public artwork that Chase has produced for the Department of Cultural Affairs. In 1998 Chase completed The Percent for Art project the Malcolm X Memorial for the entrance to the renovated Audubon Ballroom in Harlem, the site of Malcom X's assassination.

Artist Quote...
"I am intrigued by the language of symbols, the place where elements, both alone and in combination with others, resonate with a special presence, establishing a dialogue with the viewer. The combination of these various symbols, I hope, will be visually appealing as well as a unique graphic signature which represents this institution of healing." -- Chase, 2002