Blue Heron Nature Preserve’s free art show explores theme of ‘Into the Wild’
By David Pendered
As the artist wrote of her newly unveiled work at Blue Heron Nature Preserve: “My piece speaks to the need for people to find a way back home to grounded safe space.”
And so, this is Sachi Rome’s response to the premise of this year’s art exhibit at the Atlanta park, located in North Atlanta off Roswell Road. The program is titled, “Art of Nature: Into the Wild,” and is open, free, to the public.
Closing is set for June 12 with a performance by Erin Palovick and Mary Grace Allerdice, at a time to be determined.
Artist Steven L. Anderson curated the show in his role as Blue Heron’s artist in residence. Anderson specializes in nature art, such as the piece on tree rings he is creating in metal for permanent display at the preserve. He said the submissions presented in response to Blue Heron’s call contained some surprising and delighting artworks that addressed this year’s theme.
“I was thinking, ‘I’m an artist who does artwork about nature’ and I began wondering, ‘What is wilderness, and what does it mean to be wild?’ And those sorts of bigger questions,” Anderson said.
Anderson’s work is familiar in the region and state. Pieces have shown at venues including Atlanta’s Day & Night Projects; Savannah’s Telfair Museum of Art, and Macon’s Museum of Arts and Sciences. His work has been supported by Atlanta and Fulton County, and by entities including Wonderroot, according to his vita.
The vastness and outdoor gallery at Blue Heron has raised a number of technical questions for artists. A forested setting presents challenges distinct from an indoor installation.
Chloe Alexander’s is one response Anderson cited.
“Alexander’s cyanotype are 5 feet wide and, if you get close to them, they seem quite big,” Anderson said. “But if you see them over the trees, they are dwarfed, in a way. It’s like flowers – this very beautiful thing we see in nature, but have to get close to see the complexity.”
Anderson faces his own artistic challenge in creating an installation that can stand up to the weather. He usually works in paper, canvas and video – three media that aren’t suitable for the outdoor piece he is creating for permanent display at Blue Heron.
The solution is to make the piece of metal. He plans to use sheets of quarter-inch steel that will stand up well to the weather. As it turns out, Anderson can’t work in steel. Anderson said his solution is to bring in Jane Foley to execute his design. Foley teaches sculpture at Georgia State University.
Here area snapshots of the artists, edited from information provided by Blue Heron Nature Preserve:
Heart of the Forest
“All things wild support a healthy, living planet that can continue to sustain life for generations to come. May we all be fierce protectors of Mother Earth. Let us re-wild our hearts and yards, let us restore the sacred reciprocity with Mother Earth. The time is now to re-wild everything, and it starts with our hearts.
Erin Palovick and Mary Grace Allerdice
Dance: curriculum for wilderness
“In Western, industrialized culture we have literally written ourselves out of the definition of nature. But the reality of our human condition is that we are interdependent with nature. On this theme, Mary Grace Allerdice and Erin Palovick will perform two live movement scores throughout the Blue Heron Nature Preserve to honor extraordinary presence.
Floating Wild and Free Toward Home
“The feathers lead you toward a simple marker of rocks, crowned with succulents representing our need to find the familiar while we venture forth back into our wilder surroundings. Feathers of freedom floating above, represent a need to fly high and explore and yet they lead us back to something safe.
Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit
“Air, Earth, Fire, Water and Spirit, are the elements of the world in us and around us. At our wildest…this is the core of who we are. The 5 sculptural chimes are based on the symbols for these elements.
MF Goods (Alice Lim and Eddie Farr)
The caps of each mushroom have a layer of tree bark while the stems are wrapped in vines. The use of these natural elements is to encourage the growth of moss and mushrooms on the sculptures over time.
With Whom We Walk This Earth
“emphasizes our human connection to the natural world and re-envisions what this relationship has the potential to become. Using alpaca fiber as material literally and figuratively weaving a narrative of innovation and environmental awareness.
“This cyanotype installation was created in collaboration with nature and the sun, using ultraviolet sunlight to reveal each image. These compositions were subject to environmental factors, including clouds, wind, and the found local flora used to form silhouettes, working together to generate unique and slightly abstracted imagery.
The Faery Boats
“As a young child, I sat with my grandfather, who was a retired sea captain as he made ship models. In my adventures in the forest, I created Faery Boats out of leaves and sent them down the creeks and forest streams. Upon visiting the Blue Heron Nature Preserve, the creek beds reminded me of my childhood streams.”