MoonTide Garden in Portland, Photograph by Mags Harries

MoonTide Garden

Art that ebbs, gleams, flows

Even the most static sculpture is never seen the same twice. Light and shadow can vary from minute to minute, environments shift and move, and perspective nearly always changes with time. Few pieces make this more apparent than Portland’s MoonTide Garden.

On a smooth section of coastline that once stored dredged matter from Casco Bay now stands a series of silver painted boulders. This installation, located at the International Ferry and Cruise Terminal on Portland Pier, is the work of Mags Harries and Lajos Héder. When seen at low tide, it seems simple enough. Boulders have been divided in half by a sleek varnish of aluminum coating and placed in irregular line that steps out to sea.

But wait for the tide to come in. As the water rises, the scene changes. A calm day turns the water into a mirror, casting mercurial images of rock, sky, and clouds. When the weather is rough, the rock garden becomes swamped, touched with white foam and blurred by the weather.

When it was first installed in 2007, small trees edged the boulders and rocks covered the site. Disuse of the property has allowed grasses to grow high along the shore, but Harries and Heder’s earthwork remains a welcome sight. Perhaps a bit weathered, the rocks still mark the highest point of the dramatic moon tide with their luminous coating, holding their ground as the water of the bay completes its daily dance.

14 Ocean Gateway Pier | Portland | Maine Arts Commission |

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