One of the reasons I wanted to come here is that I-Park encourages and works with artists who engage in some way with nature (though not exclusively so). This, I am quickly finding, makes for a swift empathy and connection with my fellow Fellows. I-Park also has a thriving and ambitious environmental art / land art program every other year (this year’s two focused sessions will begin just after I leave); but is also quite encouraging to its Enclave Fellows (that’s me) who wish to interact with the land. It’s also broadly international and interdisciplinary. Some of the works are temporary, such as performance sites, and others stand the test of time. This makes walking about the already fascinating 400 acres just delightful. Here’s a small sampling of some of my favorite sites so far (I haven’t been on all the trails yet). There’s no labeling, so I can’t give you artist’s names, only what I can remember from the initial two-hour tour. Yesterday, I went back over everything we were shown the day before , with camera, at my own pace (and for the moment, I’ll even spare you all the absolutely gorgeous fungi).
First, there is the work the I-Park folks have done and continue to do: creating the programs, building and outfitting the studios, maintaining excellent gardens, maintaining trails, planning, hauling in donated materials, rigging extensive outdoor lighting, and much, much more: here’s a tiny sampling. The ferns are not planted, they occur naturally in big patches throughout the woods; sturdy wooden pathways snake through marshy areas, and a number of studios are freestanding structures (this is the composer’s studio).
Below is my absolute favorite piece, which I am going to have to shoot at a different time of day; it’s in a small clearing and gorgeous against the sky. It’s a towering tree either disintegrating into the sky or being drawn down from it. The artist is female, and German, and I am her newest fan:
A floating living room (shown docked) complete with functional lighting, reading material, and a glass-bottomed window. I believe this artist is American, but am not sure I remember correctly. I do definitely plan an afternoon float, though:
A very recent (last session) work that reminds me of MaesHowe. Again, I think but am not certain that the artist is Canadian or maybe American:
“I-Park” in massive characters, by a Chinese artist:
Below is a small portion of an ongoing project by a Belgian artist; she’s created a series of connecting paths throughout the property, called Mie’s Trail, that follow and highlight some of the land’s unique characteristics. When she does intervene at different points on the pathway, she brings nothing in but subtly works with what is already there (I keep thinking of Suzi Gablik). Here, she comes in yearly and cleans away everything but the red pine needles, in a perfect circle; in another place, she clears out invading plants from a beautiful velvety green area of undulating moss-covered rocks and earth. It’s some of the most ephemeral, exquisite work on the place:
No, no, it’s not Patrick Dougherty, but (again, I think) a German artist:
I haven’t been up here yet, but this is a sturdily-mounted school desk and chair, I think by an American:
There are several sites by this woman, whose nationality I forget: she is ‘repairing’ trees and schisms in rocks with stitching, knitting and crocheting, some sites so huge that I couldn’t photograph them. This photo does not do the intricacy of her work justice. At this site, there are several strips of peeling bark descending from a stitched up fallen tree whose edges have been neatly blanket-stitched, which just makes me smile:
A creature tree by a Russian artist, complete with ceramic fungus, and my favorite of the creatures, below it. Somehow it reminds me of walking straight into an Arthur Rackham illustration:
Yes, I am absolutely planning an outdoor site work of my own, and very likely, a collaborative one as well, which is exciting. Now, off to more walks, and then the studio: last night’s freshly made abaca sheets await me.