Brown Arts

Diane Samuels | Lines of Sight (2006)

view of diane samuels lines of sight bridge from below
Photo by Jeff Goldberg/ESTO

Diane Samuels

Lines of Sight, 2006

  • Etching, engraved, and cut glass and double-pane windows
  • 1900 sq. ft.
  • Installed in the Sidney E. Frank Hall for Life Sciences

close up image of diane samuels lines of sight
Photo courtesy the artist

Incorporated into the glass walls of the pedestrian bridge connecting the two wings of the building, the Lines of Sight offers a visual collage of shapes and words. It constructs a metaphorical bridge between science and the arts. While the forms resolve into glittering texture when viewed from outside, more detailed elements engage viewers within the bridge.

Samuels set out to create a work that reflected the scientist’s process of looking closely at microscopic elements of a larger whole. She achieved this goal using a cutting edge method of window construction, and lots of patience. With the help of her assistant Maggie, Samuels hand-placed over 600,000 free-floating cut glass shapes between two large panes of glass. They are held in place by friction while a select few are glued in place. Some of the pieces are circular, made of magnifying lenses, mirrors, prisms, and disks. Other elements are inspired by conversations with the Brown community. She solicited phrases of poetry or prose about close observation from each discipline and etched them onto small rectangles which are carefully placed among the circles. Members of the Brown community also offered their hands for scanning. Two of the hands, enlarged to 85 times their actual size, are sandblasted into the outer surface of the glass panes. They symbolize the human presence in all research endeavors.

Pittsburgh resident Diane Samuels’ internationally praised works pair the micro and the macro in stunningly detailed, often hand-worked conceptual displays. Although best known for her public art, she also creates multimedia installations and works on handmade paper. Notable public works include a memorial garden in Grafeneck, Germany, and a commissioned work at the Center for Jewish History in New York. Solo exhibitions include those at the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Mattress Factory Museum in Pittsburgh, the Center for Book Arts and the Kim Foster Gallery in New York, the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, the Municipal Museum of Art in Gyor, Hungary, and the Bernheimer Realschule in Buttenhausen, Germany.

Diane Samuels


Lines of Sight, 2006

view of samuels lines of sight from inside the bridge hallway
Photo by Woodruff/Brown University

far off view of samuels lines of site pedestrian bridge
Photo by Warren Jagger

inside view of diane samuels lines of sight
Photo by Woodruff/Brown Photography