EARTH GROWS IN VANDUSEN THIS SUMMER
July 16 to September 30, 2012
Opening reception: August 2
(Vancouver, BC) – This summer the earth will move at VanDusen Botanical Garden as we welcome five acclaimed international and local earth artists: Nils-Udo, Urs-P. Twellmann, Chris Booth, Nicole Dextras and Michael Dennis. Assembled by John Grande – one of the world’s foremost Earth Art curators – they will be creating sculptural works within the broad canvas of VanDusen’s 55 acres. Unlike other forms of sculpture and painting, which seek to create works of permanence, Earth Art uses organic materials taken from the landscape to create sculptures that inevitably decay over time. By its very nature, Earth Art is meant to be ephemeral, drawing the viewer’s attention to the beauty of the sculptural art, and the landscape in which it sits, through all its stages of existence.
The artists arrive in mid-July to start work on a wide range of pieces, with the official opening of the show in early August. The works will then remain in situ scattered throughout the Garden. Peak viewing periods will include not just when the works are completed, but the period of extemporaneous, artist-in-action construction.
At this point, you might be asking, “What is Earth Art?” The year 1968 saw the seminal Earthworks show in New York City. What followed was an explosion of sculptural art that took its inspiration from nature. The new movement was the inevitable artistic response to an increasing awareness of our environmental impact on the natural world. A number of variations or sub-genres of this nature-inspired art form became known as Land Art, Earth Art or Environmental Art. Of all the variations spawned by Earthworks in 1968, Earth Art is the genre most suitable in its conception for creation and display in a botanical garden. Earth Art can take many forms – from the manipulation of the land itself to create monumental shapes to micro-sculptures created from twigs, leaves and petals. What pieces have in common is that unlike other works of sculpture, they do not remain static but evolve over time through exposure to the elements.
VanDusen has a long history of involvement in sculpture dating back to the International Sculpture Symposium held here in 1975. At that time a dozen internationally renowned sculptors also created works here in situ – but those were of stone. These pieces still proudly stand in the Garden and form the core of the Garden’s permanent art collection. More recently we have presented exhibitions by the BC Society of Sculptors as well as hosting ZimSculpt from Zimbabwe for the previous three years (2009-2011).
VanDusen would like to acknowledge the financial support of the estate of Kitty Heller in making this important exhibition possible. Ms. Heller’s love of art has not only allowed the Garden to mount this exhibit; it will also assist us in mounting future environmental art exhibits.
Come to VanDusen this summer and see what can happen when the earth is moved!
VanDusen Botanical Garden 5251 Oak St., Vancouver, BC V6M 4H1