September 13, 2013

Walking Ecologies at deCordova

Artist Jane Marsching's Field Station Concordia
Participating as one of four artists in the deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park's inaugural outdoor exhibition - WORK OUT, Jane Marsching created Field Station Concordia from which she has been engaging visitors to observe, record, and respond to what they experience in the museum's landscape.  On Wednesday, September 11, Jane and I lead a walk through museum grounds to explore the dialogue between wild ecologies and expressive landscapes as they inform our relationship to place.  It was a record 97ยบ F. with a permeating haze and warm breeze, quite a contrast from the rainstorm that eclipsed our August walk.  Included here are impressions and natural dialogues that we experienced during our saunter through the sculpture park with several inspired visitors and staff.  Enjoy!

The fractal beauty of umbels on a role.  As many of you know, this is one of my favorite flower forms in the wild.  Also see my album, Umbel Moments.

James Surls' Walking Flower Times the Power of Five (2010)
The tortured surfaces of Dine's Two Big Black Hearts (1985), yield metaphoric wild reflections from the surrounding landscape.

Female spotted orbweaver (Neoscona sp.) takes advantage of the jagged surface to mount her vertical web, as she's inclined to do on building surfaces.  We discovered her poised and waiting on this baking bronze facade, about 7' above the ground!  An intriguing metaphorical pairing with the sensibilities of this sculpture.
The heart-shaped leaves and delicate flowers of burdock, whose root is nature's blood purifier and whose barbed seed pods have been the bain of long-haired little girls and furry passers-by for eons

On a more playful note, we encountered ripe poke berries nearby, which Jane mentioned using to create a deep pink ink for printing.  Inspired, Jane's mother-in-law then applied some crushed berries to her hair for a purple flourish!

Siegel's compelling buttes, constructed from surplus Worcester Telegram newspapers, rest inside an old barn foundation on the edge of the deCordova property.  Incredibly, the smaller form has poison ivy vines cascading down from its summit, while the other larger form and the surrounding ground are lush with jewelweed (Impatiens capensis), whose plant juices are the natural antidote to poison ivy's irritating oils.  Apparently, this is a serendipitous dialogue that has occurred between the landscape's inhabitants and the sculpture's terrain.

Steven Siegel's Big, with rift (2009), constructed forms newspapers and flora
Late afternoon sun highlights layers of time and stories
In this dark hollow, Jane found the fruit cluster of a Jack-in-the Pulpit, an unusually bulbous structure that was new to many in our group.  Almost immediately, we had another sculptural response...

Jack-in-the-pulpit fruit cluster
Tom Chapin's Manna (2007)
As we moved across the the lawn toward the parking lot, we discovered two fresh creations left by a morning's visit from Concord-Carlisle High School's Rivers and Revolutions students, who will be working with the deCordova, two other Concord schools, and me this fall to explore the experience of cultivating Sense of Place.

Though we didn't climb the Walking Path behind the museum on this afternoon, one sculpture that caught my eye previously reflects a primal energy that hides in plain sight both in the sculpture park and throughout the local landscape.  After a summer of caterpillar revelations inspired by Sam Jaffe's programs, Hansel's creation felt intimately familiar...

Michael Hansel's Reflex (2004)
DeWitt Godfrey's Lincoln is a monumental engagement with Lincoln's rolling landscape, its earthen colors tying in the museum's warm facade with its gently cascading front lawn.  After our July walk washout, I explored the sculpture in the rain...a shining, rhythmic revelation of sight and sound! 


Day's end images on each of the Walking Ecologies days...

August walk postponed due to rain

Up in a cloud of midges.  The steamy park air fills with swirling clouds of exuberant life, as I depart!

1 comment:

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