Tag Archive | sculptures

Human Nature – At The Morton Arboretum

A beautiful day at the Morton Arboretum and the perfect setting for their latest art exhibition entitled ‘Human Nature.’

Gingko

These magnificent sculptures by artist Daniel Popper should definitely be viewed from all angles, not only to enjoy the piece itself, but how it relates to the surrounding landscape.

Hallow

These 15 to 26ft tall sculptures were created exclusively for the Arboretum and are made of aluminum, steel, fiberglass, wood and concrete.

Sentient

Each sculpture weighs several metric tons but despite their size, they are sometimes dwarfed by the surrounding trees of the Arboretum.

Umi

The sculptures are spread throughout the Arboretum and although there are parking areas by most of them, some require a short walk to gain access.

Ephemera

The exhibition will be open through March 2023 and I’m looking forward to making a second visit later in the Fall when the surrounding trees will take on a whole new appearance.

Heartwood

The artist, Daniel Popper, is from Cape Town, South Africa, and his art installations include the memorial sculpture for the Nelson Mandela School of Science and Technology in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

Basilica

Creatures of a Dream World

Here are some of the weird and wonderful creatures that we encountered on our recent visit to Cantigny Park in Wheaton. Visiting Cantigny is always a pleasure as the gardens are magnificent, but the art exhibition entitled ‘Alebrijes: Creatures of a Dream World’ made it even more enjoyable.

These amazing sculptures were created by six artists from Mexico City who regularly participate in the annual ‘Day of the Dead’ parade in that city. The Alebrijes date back to 1936 when artist Pedro Linares was inspired by a dream that he had while he was ill with a fever. The creatures have since gained in popularity and have even been featured in the Disney movie Coco.

The figures are made of papier-mache applied to wire frames and coated with lacquer to protect them from moisture. The designs and colors are absolutely stunning! And there are 49 of these sculptures placed throughout the park.

The sculptures are the property of the Mexican Cultural Center DuPage and after the exhibition closes in October, some of them will be donated to local schools and museums. The artists who created these wonderful works of art are:- Perla Miriam Salgado Zamorano, Alejandro Comacho Barrera, Alberto Moreno Fernandez, Roberto Carlos Martinez Tecillo, Edgar Israel Camargo Reyes and Emanuel Arturo Zarate Ortiz.

It may be of interest to note that while we there at Cantigny Park, Illinois Governor Pritzker was in the gardens giving a press conference promoting tourism in Illinois. Cantigny should most assuredly be on your list of places to see if you are visiting Illinois.

Filling The Frame – At Mount Rushmore

This week, Patti has chosen Filling the Frame as the subject for the Lens Artists Photo Challenge and my first choice for this particular challenge was Mount Rushmore. I say ‘first choice’ as I work mostly with zoom lenses and most of my photo shoots include close-ups so don’t be surprised if you see another entry from me later in the week.  Thanks, Patti!

Lego At The Zoo

Having spent countless hours with the grandchildren, over the years, trying to make anything remotely recognizable out of Lego, I can appreciate how much work went into creating the more than 40 life-size creatures that featured in Brookfield Zoo’s Brick Safari this summer.

Do these creations qualify as sculptures? I’m not sure, but they are certainly works of art.

The resulting photos have the rather weird effect of looking over-pixelated ( if that’s the correct term.)

One of my favorites was Lance the Leopard who required 42,500 bricks and 340 hours to complete.

It took 375 hours and 110,000 bricks to make Grace the Giraffe who weighs in at 1,652 pounds.  That’s a lot of Lego!

The rhinoceros took 155,000 bricks and 403 hours to complete, while Eli the Elk took a mere 87,464 bricks. 

The grizzly bears were quite impressive, taking 136,569 bricks and 382 hours to build.  They looked quite at home in this woodland setting.

I’m not sure who worked on these amazing pieces but all I can say is, “Well done!”

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Creativity at the Arboretum

This week, Ann-Christine has chosen Creativity as the subject for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. I hope to be making my usual Spring visit to the Morton Arboretum tomorrow to see the daffodils and magnolias in bloom, but one of the many things to love about the Arboretum is that, not only do we get to enjoy the trees, flowers and wildlife there, but also some amazing artwork and splendid displays of creativity.

Valentine’s Toffee

I’m currently in the midst of a lengthy and ultimately expensive dental procedure, so what does my husband get me for Valentine’s Day? A large chocolate bar liberally laced with chunks of toffee. He means well, bless him, and we must be doing something right. We’ve been married for just over 46 years!  Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!

In Search of Trolls

It was a gloriously warm, sunny day at the end of summer when we went in search of Trolls at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle. These trolls weren’t the nasty kind that invade the internet but the ones that hide in the woods. As you will see, we found six of them and saw some other interesting sights along the way.


It would appear that these trolls are not exactly friendly creatures as we soon realized when we came across this car crushed beneath a huge boulder. The perpetrator, a character named Rocky Bardur, was standing just a few yards away.


We came across a whole host of monarch butterflies among the flowers outside the visitor center after which we managed to creep up on troll number two, Sneaky Socks Alexa, who was waiting to spring a deadly trap.


Further along the path, a heron seemed to be pointing the way to Joe the Guardian who was standing on a hill overlooking the expressway.



I must say that going on this Troll Hunt encouraged us to take paths that we have never trodden before, giving us the opportunity to see familiar scenes from a different perspective.


I’m not sure if troll number four found us or we found her. Furry Ema certainly looked like she was up to no good.



Walking across Daffodil Glade, we saw a tree that looked as though a troll had breathed on it. And it wasn’t too long before we came across number five, Niels Bragger, lurking in the woods.

Little Arturs was easy to spot. He was taking a break in Bobolink Meadow. These 15 to 60 foot giants were created from recycled wood by Danish artist Thomas Dambo, and he has done a fantastic job!  The Arboretum hopes to keep them on display through to 2019 depending on how they weather. It will be interesting to see how they stand up to a Chicago-style winter..


 

Art and Autumn at the Arboretum

Just in time, we were able to catch the last few days of this year’s sculpture exhibition, Origami in the Garden, at the Morton Arboretum last month. These beautiful metal sculptures, created by Kevin and Jennifer Box, are modelled after the art of Origami or paper folding and the Arboretum was the perfect backdrop for this amazing artwork.

 

Not only did we get to enjoy the art but also some nice autumn scenery, even if the colors weren’t as vibrant this year.

In order to replicate the Origami creations, each sculpture goes through a 35-step, 12-week process of casting in bronze, aluminum or steel.

The turtles are real, but the raptor is another of Kevin Box’s clever creations.

This piece, entitled Double Happiness, shows a pair of nesting cranes which often appear in art as the symbol of companionship and happiness in marriage.

These intricately designed birds appear to be flying away from Meadow Lake.

A Hidden Gem in Marion

During our visit to Marion, Illinois, a couple of weeks ago we decided to take a chance and visit a place called Mandala Gardens.  I had read a brief review of the Gardens on TripAdvisor which sounded promising but the Mandala Gardens website itself mentioned something about calling ahead, and like many of the side-trips that we make, this one was rather spontaneous.  When we got to the privately owned Gardens early in the morning the gates were closed and I gazed longingly through the bars at what looked like an intriguing vista. I was just about to get back in the car when a lady came out of the adjoining house and walked down to greet us.  I explained that our visit was rather a last-minute idea and were sorry to turn up unannounced but she told us that it wasn’t a problem and ushered us in.

You immediately feel the peace and serenity that emanates from this tranquil setting.  Diana Tigerlily (pictured below) and her husband Greg Reid have lived at the property on North State Street for 20 years and during that time have put a lot of effort into making it the lovely place that it is today. Diana kindly allowed us to wander around and enjoy the Gardens and of course I made the most of this great photo opportunity.  For more on Diana and Greg’s story go to ABOUT

There are several interesting structures to explore at the Gardens one of which is The Infinity Arch created by Thea Alvin.

Another feature, also created by Thea Alvin, is Moongate which stands at the end of the pond. Here at the Gardens Diana holds Yoga practice sessions which are named Blue Heron Yoga and just as I was about to walk around the pond the blue heron, for which these sessions are named, flapped lazily away. Unfortunately I wasn’t quick enough to get a shot with the camera but luckily the pond and Moongate were still there.

Looking through Moongate you catch a glimpse of the sandstone labyrinth, a quiet place to meditate, or take a walk through the trees just beyond and return to the garden via the bridge. Both the labyrinth and the bridge are the result of Greg and Diana’s hard work.

 

Back among the flowers, there are plenty of places to sit and enjoy the various pieces of artwork than can be found at Mandala Gardens, including Talisman, a metal sculpture by Carey Netherton and some delightful little stained-glass windows which are part of the potting shed.

If you are ever in the Marion area of Illinois, I can highly recommend a visit to Manadala Gardens.  Diana was most welcoming and made us feel right at home.