Art Around the World with Mrs. O: The Morton Arboretum
The Morton Arboretum is The Champion of Trees. Their mission is to collect and study trees, shrubs, and other plants from around the world, to display them across naturally beautiful landscapes for people to study and enjoy, and to learn how to grow them in ways that enhance our environment. Their goal is to encourage the planting and conservation of trees and other plants for a green, healthier, and more beautiful world. The Morton Arboretum was founded in 1922 by Joy Morton, he recognized the importance of trees for our environment envisioned a great outdoor museum of trees for people to learn and enjoy the beauty of plants and nature that inspire the arts.
Spread across the 1,700 acres at The Morton Arboretum just outside of Chicago are five enormous figures by Cape Town-based artist Daniel Popper. Constructed of wood, glass-reinforced concrete, fiberglass, and steel, the looming sculptures stand out against the verdant landscape and pay homage to nature’s endurance and diversity, particularly the 220,000 individual specimens growing on the grounds. Human+Nature is Popper’s largest exhibition to date.
The female figures, four of which are shown here, vary in pose, material, and overall aesthetic. “Hallow,” which stands at the arboretum’s entrance, is a poetic sculpture evocative of the fern-canopied installation the artist unveiled late last year in Fort Lauderdale. “Sentient,” on the other hand, surrounds a central bust with a surreal assemblage of facial features depicted on angled hunks of wood. Each is constructed at a monumental scale, standing up to 26 feet tall and weighing multiple metric tons.
Human+Nature opens May 28 at the arboretum and will remain on display for at least one year. Find more of Popper’s massive artworks in addition to glimpses into his process on Instagram.