Roy Nicholson’s “Hempstead Plain, Morning & Evening (2018)”, has been installed at Hicksville Station.
In 2002 artist Roy Nicholson created glass mosaic artwork for the Hicksville station ticket office and waiting room. When the station underwent a renovation and modernization in 2018, Nicholson was invited back to expand the project to the new waiting rooms on the rebuilt station platform.
In his “Morning Transit (2002)”, “Evening Transit (2002)” and “Hempstead Plain, Morning & Evening” mosaic murals, Nicholson takes viewers back in time. The area around Hicksville was once an original prairie landscape most often associated with the Midwest, a notable rarity. Nicholson recaptures that setting, in look and spirit, as if seen from a speeding train. The colors vary according to the time of day depicted – soft green and blue hues for sunrise in “Morning Transit” and red and blue hues for sunset in “Evening Transit”. The artist has created a contemplative meditation on landscape and rewards the viewer with an affectionate look back at Long Island before the post-war housing boom forever altered the landscape.
“Each commuter imagines his or her own personal scenery,” says Nicholson. “One can look at it over and over again and discover new images.”
In the newer installation, “Hempstead Plain, Morning & Evening”, Nicholson’s 72 laminated glass panels bathe four platform waiting rooms with vibrant light and color, while additional glass panels frame two stair enclosures, making Hicksville station an engaging and lively place. Expanding on the artist’s earlier vibrant mosaic landscapes in the station building, these sprawling transparent vistas are inspired by the historic writings of naturalist Henry Hicks, whose grandfather, Isaac Hicks, developed the first plant nursery in the area.
Nicholson’s painted glass panels, created by Glasmalerei Peters Studios, capture the feeling and excitement of a train rushing through the open Hempstead Plain. The palette evokes the different times of day a commuter would pass through, with the soft blues and greens of the morning and the glowing yellows and oranges of the evening. As a longtime Long Island resident, Nicholson chose to name each of the 50-foot-long waiting rooms after a tree representative of early 20th century writings on the bucolic area, thus “cedar”, “maple”, “oak” and “sumac” are the names framed by smaller paintings that represent these species.
“I wanted to connect today’s commuters with the landscape they are passing through and to echo the historic prairie with its indigenous plants, sweeping vistas and colorful morning and evening light.”
For more information, please visit the Hicksville Station Improvements Project page on AModernLI.com – //www.amodernli.com/project/hicksville-station-improvements-project/.
Photos by MTA Capital Construction/Trent Reeves.