Barbara Noah
Forms of Power
1986

LOCATION
Canal Street City Light Facility
Northwest 45th Street and Sixth Avenue Northwest

FUNDING SOURCE
Seattle City Light 1% for Art funds


As part of the Canal Street City Light Facility renovation, artist Barbara Noah created six back-lit silhouettes for the building's large upper-story windows. Noah painted images of allegories of power on multi-colored windows of sandblasted, translucent Plexiglas. Three orange windows represent physical power by depicting the hand signs of the popular children's game rock-paper-scissors. A pink window shows a couple about to kiss, symbolizing the power of love, while a scientist conducting experiments stands for the power of the mind. Finally, a blindfolded figure with outstretched arms in a green window represents the power of the law, evoking traditional representations of justice.

When seen at dusk or later, the windows glow softly, allowing passersby a figurative glimpse into the activities happening inside the building. This visual play subtly alludes to the daily lives taking place in the homes and businesses of the surrounding neighborhood that depend on the Canal Street site for power.