NATURE UNFRAMED: ART AT THE ARBORETUM 2011 OUTDOOR EXHIBITION
NATURE UNFRAMED: ART AT THE ARBORETUM TO DEBUT IN MAY
See Brand New, Nature-Based Art Among Spring Blooms At The Morton Arboretum
LISLE, IL (February 9, 2011) – If gorgeous landscapes could sculpt, weave, or paint, imagine what beauty they’d create. A brand new art exhibition will reveal how trees at The Morton Arboretum inspired artists to develop a diverse and surprising set of creations.
Nature Unframed: Art at the Arboretum features eleven striking and sometimes towering works of art. Renowned artists from around the world designed their pieces specifically based on how they “read” the unique landscape “galleries” where the works will be displayed. The exhibition kicks off on May 19 with a ceremony open to reporters, Arboretum members, and select guests; the exhibition opens to the public on May 20.
The art will complement stunning beauty at the Arboretum, which features the largest collection of flowering, ornamental trees in the Midwest.
“The works will also highlight trees’ beauty, vulnerability, and intrinsic value,” says Anamari Dorgan, Arboretum Head of Visitor Experience. But the pieces will also allow visitors to explore their own emotional connection to trees and derive their own meanings from the art.
Philippa Lawrence says she is “revealing through concealing” in creating “Bound, V-57,” referring to the tree she will wrap at the V-57 grid location on the Arboretum map. The internationally-recognized artist will use bright yellow cotton fabric in forming bandages to bind an entire dead tree – trunk and limbs. She says this draws attention to the tree as a sculptural form, increasing the viewer’s ability to appreciate the tree. Lawrence also says the creation reflects her own concern about the erosion of natural habitats that support trees and other forms of life.
Juan Angel Chavez, who has won the prestigious Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, the Richard Driehaus Individual Artist Award, and the Tree Arts Chicago honor, will present “Jimshoe.” The well-known Chicago artist says his art form “is a comment and an observation of nature, as it overcomes modernity” using ingenuity to survive. His piece will feature a series of abstract forms surrounding a tree trunk and branches.
Artist Letha Wilson’s unnamed creation will feature a 20-foot-tall “canvas” with tree branches protruding to create what seems like a living, 3D painting. “My work creates relationships between architecture and nature, and the gallery space and the American wilderness,” Wilson says.
The highly innovative, “Lichen It!” will feature yarn in multiple colors crocheted into small pieces, that are in turn crocheted into larger pieces that encase a tree trunk like a sleeve. The crocheted pieces represent lichens: fungi and algae that live closely together and help each other survive. The work, pronounced: “liken it,” is “an analogy for people’s symbiotic relationship with trees and nature,” artist Carol Hummel says. And on January 9, anyone with basic crocheting skills is invited to join a workshop with Hummel to make yarn lichens that will be incorporated into the art work.
A series of 4-foot by 8-foot mirrored letters spelling out “You Are Beautiful” will offer multiple intriguing opportunities for interpretation. Do they aim to highlight the Arboretum’s natural beauty, the viewers’ own beauty, or should one interpret the words in another way? An anonymous collective created this work, which is similar to a large You Are Beautiful sculpture that appeared previously on State Street near Macy’s department store.
Glen Ellyn native Larry King says “saving our endangered trees should be the highest priority for everyone.” To drive home his point, the artist created “Celebranch” out of bamboo, which he says is environmentally sustainable and renewable. The graceful, brown and tan striped branch will shoot more than 25 feet into the air; its wispy offshoots able to bend in the wind.
Five other works round out the exhibition of eleven pieces; all are situated a short walk from the Arboretum’s Visitor Center. The exhibition runs through November 27 and is free with Arboretum admission.
The Morton Arboretum gratefully acknowledges generous support from our sponsors: Harris Bank and Sara Lee Foundation, contributing sponsors of Nature Unframed: Art at the Arboretum; and the Lisle Convention and Visitors Bureau, the featured hotel sponsor.
Media Contacts: Gina Tedesco, (office) 630-725-2103,