MORTON ARBORETUM EXHIBITION
CHICAGO, IL, 2021 - 2023
The Human Nature exhibit includes 5 sculptures commissioned by The Morton Arboretum:
The pieces were made from steel, FGRC (fibre glass reinforced concrete), fiberglass, wood, and natural fibers.
An invitation to openness, Hallow is a monument to transformation. It asks that the viewer enter its form and, in doing so, step into a contemplative interiority, that we might reflect on both our inner nature and that of the natural world. Preferring to leave the interpretation of the work open-ended, Popper offers questions rather than answers: “How is your spirit affected by nature? Ask yourself: What do you feel? How does this connect you with your feelings about nature?”
The world, as conceived by environmental scientist John Lovelock, is a vast entanglement of living things that collectively define and maintain the conditions conducive to life. To this holistic ideal of the earth as a self-regulating organism, Lovelock gave the name Gaia, borrowed from Greek mythology. Born from the primordial chaos, Gaia is the ancestral mother of all life, the ur-goddess by whom the earth was shaped and populated. Terra Mater in Latin; Mother Earth in our own words.
Recalling the inner rings at the centre of a tree trunk, Heartwood offers a lyrical meditation on the interconnectedness of humans and nature. While the work’s image might first appear fractured – with the bust of a woman cleaved in two – on closer looking, a resonant parallel becomes apparent. The heartwood of a tree marks its earliest growth and becomes, with the accumulation of annual ring, the plant’s spine; the wood dense and resistant to decay.
With eyes closed in a mediative calm, Sentient invites a return to stillness. She is a figure sensitive in perception and feeling, a being attuned to the oneness of humans and nature. Surrounding her form, her likeness echoes; her face repeated in countless fractured parts. Such repetitions offer a metaphor for the constant noise of digital media and its fragmenting, dislocating effects on the self.
Named for the filigreed, thread-like fungus, Mycelia extends reflections on the interconnectedness of humans and the natural world.
Mushrooms offer themselves as metaphor and image; the strange blooms of an otherwise invisible organism that runs beneath the forest floor.
Its title borrowed from the Greek word given first to places of gathering and later to those of worship, the work is an invocation to community and communion. While it may be without walls, with no ceiling but the sky, the artist lends Basilica’s two outstretched arms and the space they enclose the sacred resonance of a temple.
Inviting the viewer to embody an attentive stillness, Ephemera is a meditation on the constancy of change. The present is fleeting, momentary – summers come and go, leaves fall, seeds wake in dark soils.