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Artist Returns to Feed Nature

By September 7, 2019 September 24th, 2019 No Comments

I’m very honored to be welcomed back at I-Park, where art and nature are symbiotic, feeding each other in hopes of new life.

Returning to see my installation from a year ago, “Old Growth Memorial”, I was filled with joy.  It’s ageing well, and nature is beginning to take it back.  I made the piece in response to research I discovered about how Connecticut since colonization has nearly depleted its forests multiple times over.  As a result, and compounded by climate change, invasive species of plant and insect are making it difficult for native species, red and white oak mostly, to come of age.  See this great USDA Forest Service, Resource Bulletin NE – 160, linked here, for the in-depth history of Connecticut Forests.

When I made Old Growth Memorial, I was thinking about a fantastical relationship to the past and future.  A clock like vivisection of a massive old growth tree.  A temple.  The piece hopefully will be consumed by nature, but also, hopefully, lichen and moss will begin to take place along the open sections of the wood.  When I was an artist in residence in November 2018, the idea for the piece struck me instantly the first day of orientation with the foundation and facilities.  I then walked the 400 acres to find the perfect site.  Then, through community resources and collaboration, we took three 12′ logs and produced planks on a neighbor’s trailer mill.  After cutting the planks we then transported them to the site.  I then created a skyhook system from neighboring trees and hosted the sculpture, solo, bit by bit, into place, tightening the bolts as I got more together.  Ultimately, I arrived at connecting 12 planks into a near perfect circle about 7 feet in diameter, on a sandstone/slate platform.

I expect the sculpture will be there for some time.  I-Park isn’t a sculpture park, they prefer that works be ephemeral and allowed to be consumed by nature.  This piece will in time, do just that.

I’m absolutely thrilled to be back here again.  This time, to be making an eco-art installation for the Site Responsive Biennale with an opening gala the 21st of September.  I-Park is going all out and the other artists that are exhibiting with me are truly a treasure.  All the works are exciting in scale and concept.  You can follow along on my Instagram as well as I-Park’s. 

My concept is just the beginning of a larger body of work inspired by the idea of art feeding nature.  For too long, our culture has been based on an extraction economy.  A transactional world that is off balance.  I’ll be making a sculpture that hopefully will feed the earth in a humble, perhaps naive way, but more importantly, to offer some kind of hope in a world desperately in need of light.  I’ll be making about 30 or 50 Macrame columns, each with 2 or 3 platforms for edible/compostable plates.  Sustainability harvested and supported moss will be transplanted and ‘planted’ onto the plates.  The whole construction will then be suspended beneath a giant oak tree.

Then, the natural process of decomposition will transfer nutrients to the earth.  I’m using moss, as its a plant that unlike others, absorbs and filters pollutants and heavy metals.  In fact, scientists are using moss as an indicator of contamination in field studies. The BioTrem Plates are made of wheat bran, are edible and fully compostable, and are made of nothing but wheat bran.  I was inspired to use the bran plates, as when I began researching natural materials that had sculptural qualities as well as horticulture assets, I discovered the ancient fertilizer, Bokashi which traces back to ancient Korea.  I’m excited to see the process and hope you are as well.  I’m about halfway through construction and still have some site work to do.  You can follow along on Instagram and of course here.

Thank you all for the support, we are doing something, therefore something is likely to happen.  cheers.

 

 

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