Blue Heron Nature Preserve Free Art Exhibition Explores “Into the Wild” Theme
By David Pendered
As the artist wrote of her work recently unveiled at Blue Heron Nature Preserve: “My piece is about the need for people to find a way home to a safe and secure space.
So this is Sachi Rome’s response to the premise of this year’s art exhibit at Atlanta Park, located north of Atlanta near Roswell Road. The program is called “Art of Nature: Into the Wild” and is open to the public free of charge.
The closing is scheduled 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 exhibit in his role as Blue Heron’s Artist-in-Residence. Anderson specializes in the art of nature, such as the piece about tree rings he creates in metal for permanent display at the reserve. He said the submissions presented in response to Blue Heron’s call contained some surprising and lovely artwork that addressed this year’s theme.
“I thought, ‘I’m an artist who does art on nature’ and I started to ask myself, ‘What is wilderness and what does it mean to to be wild? And those kind of bigger questions, ”Anderson said.
Anderson’s work is familiar in the region and the state. The pieces have been featured in venues such as the Atlanta Day & Night Projects; The Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah and the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Macon. His work has been supported by Atlanta and Fulton County, and by entities including Wonderroot, according to his vita.
The vastness and exterior gallery of Blue Heron raised a number of technical questions for the artists. A woodland setting presents challenges distinct from an indoor installation.
Chloe Alexander is an answer cited by Anderson.
“Alexander’s cyanotypes are 5 feet wide and, if you get close to them, they look pretty big,” Anderson said. “But if you see them above the trees, they’re kind of dwarves. It’s like flowers – that very beautiful thing that we see in nature, but we have to get close to it to see the complexity.
Anderson takes on his own artistic challenge by creating an installation that can withstand the elements. He typically works on paper, canvas, and video – three mediums unsuitable for the outdoor artwork he creates for a permanent exhibition at the Blue Heron.
The solution is to make the piece of metal. He plans to use quarter-inch steel sheets that will withstand the elements well. 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 are snapshots of the artists, edited using information provided by Blue Heron Nature Preserve:
Heart of the forest
“All that is wild sustains a healthy, living planet that can continue to support life for generations to come. May we all be fierce protectors of Mother Earth. Re-wild our hearts and our gardens, let us restore sacred reciprocity with Mother Earth. Now is the time to re-save everything, and it starts with our hearts.
Erin Palovick and Mary Grace Allerdice
Dance: program for the wilderness
“In western and industrialized culture, we have literally excluded ourselves from 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 movement scores live in the Blue Heron Nature Reserve to honor an extraordinary presence.
Floating wild and free home
“The feathers lead you to a simple boulder marker, crowned with succulents representing our need to find the familiar as we venture into our wilder surroundings.” The feathers of freedom floating above represent a urge to fly high and explore and yet they bring us back to something secure.
Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit
“Air, Earth, Fire, Water and Spirit are the elements of the world in us and around us. To our wildest… this is the core of who we are. The 5 sculptural chimes are based on the symbols of 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 fungus on the sculptures over time.
With whom we walk on this earth
“Emphasizes our human connection to the natural world and reimagines what this relationship has the potential to become. Using alpaca fiber as a material, both literally and figuratively, weaving a story of innovation and environmental awareness.
“This cyanotype installation was created in collaboration with nature and the sun, using ultraviolet light to reveal each image. These compositions were subjected to environmental factors, including clouds, wind, and the local flora found used to form silhouettes, working together to generate unique and slightly abstract images.
“As a child, I sat down with my grandfather, who was a retired ship captain, as he made model ships. In my adventures in the forest, I created Faery Boats from leaves and sent them to the streams and streams of the forest. While visiting the Blue Heron Nature Reserve, the creek beds reminded me of the creeks of my childhood.