Soils, Seeds and Spouts : Tropical and Temperate

Seed Rain: Seed Bank Exhibition
"Soils, Seeds and Spouts : Tropical and Temperate" opened at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum on August 12, 2017 and ran through Dec 8 2017. The exhibit was a multifaceted display that included sculptural works in bronze, ceramic and cast glass as well as watercolors and mono types. The overarching theme contrasted the beauty of tropical nature with the beauty of nature right outside our doors in the Midwest, the message being to get outside and enjoy the endless wonder of nature where ever you are! The show was a culmination of 10 months of intense work where two new major ceramic installations were produced along with other sculptures and works on paper. It was well received by people of all ages and I gave 4 talks during the exhibit run including one at the Digging Deeper museum event that educated the public about practical soil concepts they could utilize.

This exhibit engages the public on multiple levels teaching important concepts and interfaces of art, nature, science and conservation. It also educates about exciting collaborations between artists and scientists as much of this work was inspired by this, including my 2016 Artist Residency with Project Amazonas at their Forest Reserve in the Peruvian Amazon and other expeditions I have participated on such as the Rio Pastaza AQUA RAP with the Field Museum and Conservation International as well as Andes to Amazon Biodivirsty Expedition to the Peruvian Amazon. Visitors learned about expeditions from a series of mono types that celebrate scientists at work in the field, clearing trails, setting a butterfly trap, ichthyologists pulling a net form the Rio Pastaza as well as the larger ecosystems.

My series of bronze reliefs depicting soil microorganisms , originally commissioned by Openlands were also included as were numerous other works. This show will be traveling to other venues.

Please contact Sharon for availability.

Seed Rain: Seed Bank Viewers
Seed Rain: Seed Bank South Wall
Seed Rain: Seed Bank Artist Sayings

Seed Rain: Seed Bank
Seed Rain: Seed Bank Exhibition Seeds
Seed Rain: Seed Bank, Ceramic, 90" H x 108"W x 36" D

Seed Rain: Seed Bank enlarges over 65 species of both tropical and temperate species to allow appreciation of their amazing and diverse forms and colors, enticing viewers to think about the importance of seeds, seed banks and seed diversity. This quiet rain that is indeed pouring down around us giving rise to a verdure that is what supports life on earth, after all, it is plants that are running the show. It was hearing Karen Holl, a restoration biologist say the term “Seed Rain” in her lecture that initiated the idea of creating the installation. When i read that Charles Darwin once sprouted 537 seeds from 3 tablespoons of pond mud, "all contained in a breakfast cup", I knew I must include seed banks.Thanks to Darwin I had to make about 40 more seeds! Darwin was also the first to write about natural seed banks, the best kind, and why saving and restoring habitat is so critical, although with current climate change we certainly also need climate controlled seed banks.

Seed Rain: Seed Bank Artist Side Case
Seed Rain: Seed Bank Artist Full Case
Seed Rain: Seed Bank Artist Part Case

Earth Stars: Above and Below
Earth Stars Case
Earth Stars: Above and Below, Ceramic, 120" H x 96" W x 36" D

Earth Stars : Above and Below are based on the wonderful forms of actual earth stars or Geasters belonging to the family gasterocarpic basidiomycetes found all over the world, indeed I found some in the Peruvian rain forest in 2016, as well as 7 in my own house plant.The name comes from geo meaning earth and aster meaning star. I love the poetic idea that they are both of the earth and the heavens and to me they become a symbol of Gaia and all it contains.

Certain species of earth stars, such as geastrum floriform are hygroscopic meaning they react to moisture levels and in very dry weather the rays close over the round spore sac.

Certain species of earth stars, such as geastrum floriform are hygroscopic meaning they react to moisture levels and in very dry weather the rays close over the round spore sac. I first learned about Earth Stars in Dr V. J. Staneks 1955 book Beauty in Nature which had a mysterious insert, complete with illustrations stating ; "The author is now writing a scientific study of earth stars and would be grateful for any consignment of dried or even crumpled specimens." This fascination began over 30 years ago and I have been exploring earth star forms in bronze , glass and ceramic ever since.

Earth Stars Case 2

Earth Stars Case CU

Earth Stars Case

Rainforest Biophilia - ceramic and live plants, Germinating Brain, Ceramic and Bronze an Brain Seedling, Cast Crystal and Bronze
Brain Case Sculptures

b-RAINFOREST", ceramic and live plants, "Germinating Brain",
Ceramicand Bronze and "Brain Seedling" Cast Crystal and
Bronze, 24" W x 36" H 10" D

These three pieces are informed by the concept of Biophilia, “innate love of life or living systems”, a concept put forth by the eminent biologist, E.O. Wilson. I was thinking about the idea that our brains have been hardwired for millennia to receive communications from and to interface with the natural environment we are part of. If we do interact more fully with the natural world, especially the plant life that supports and nourishes us, we can co-create ways to in turn protect these natural systems and species.

Interestingly as I was working on "Brain Seedling",I ordered the book, "Return to the Brain of Eden, Restoring the Connection between Neurochemistry and Consciousness", coauthored by Tony Wright and Graham Gynn. It is a ground breaking book that looks at how our brains expanded at an increasingly rapid rate and then 200,000 year ago abruptly stopped. They explain how for millions of years early forest dwelling humans primarily consuming the hormone rich sex organs of plants, (the fruit), each containing a highly complex biochemical cocktail evolved to influence DNA transcription, rapid brain development and elevated neural and pineal gland activity. They also discuss how our loss of this diet and leaving the forest environment led to a progressive neurodegenerative condition characterized by aggressive behaviors, a fearful perception of the world and suppression of higher artistic, mathematical and spiritual abilities.

2 Monoprints

Mono Type on Left, Norma Pfeiffer and Thismia Americana,
Hand Colored Monotype, 22"w x 30" H
Mono Type on Right, Pinhook Bog, Hand Colored Monotype,
22"w x 30" H