Art inspired by life

Fans, both menacing and inviting,
eagerly greet guests at Rogers Centre
Snow's art pieces were originally requested
to be one-dimensional

Famed Canadian artist Michael Snow still smiles when he approaches Rogers Centre and sees the cast of exuberant fans greet him from above the northeast and northwest corners with each step he takes. Imagined and created over 20 years ago, The Audience is a set of two original sculptural art installations placed on the northeast and northwest corners of the venue designed to extend the fan experience to both inside and outside the venue.

"Three or four different locations were originally suggested for places that art could go," commented Snow recently during a visit to the ballpark. "Those corners, as far as the plans went, were intended to be flat surfaces. I created the completely original idea of placing bleachers and fans in those locations to evaluate oncoming guests."

Tendered originally as a one-dimensional art piece for the exterior of the venue, Snow saw great potential in making the design element more robust and bringing the spectator into contact with it from the moment they approached the venue.

"It is important, no matter the piece I am creating, to think about the location physically as a building as well as what goes on around it and inside it," said Snow.

After completing a sculptural piece for the National Gallery, Snow became interested in the idea of involving spectators, in a certain sense, into the art installation for Rogers Centre (then SkyDome). He came up with the idea of The Audience that would judge the oncoming guests as the guests would ultimately be judging the players on the field.

"The Audience uses a repertoire of many fan signs as they appraise the guests just as they will appraise the players themselves," shared Snow.

Each member of The Audience is involved in a directed action toward the oncoming spectator. Depending on how one approaches the building, you may be caught in a fan’s photograph, be waved at by a young child or even be sneered at if you are a fan of the opposing team.

As a result of the animated nature of the characters that make up The Audience, Snow hopes that guests take the time to walk around and inspect the art pieces. As a three-dimensional creation, The Audience cannot be treated like a picture. Stand beside it. Stand underneath it. Stand in front of it. Stand far away from it. Depending on where you are standing the overall experience will be different.

With other works such as the iconic geese, Flight Stop, at the Eaton Centre and his Walking Women sculpture which graced the 1967 Expo in Montreal, Snow is one of the most significant contemporary artists over the past 50 year.