Mycorrhiza, Public Art Installation Process

I like to study details in nature where I can discover patterns and see new connections. Plants are beautiful things to study and see their overall organization with many intricate patterns nested within. The leaves are made up of veins and cells all connected to a larger organism with a form and presence all its own.

I thought about this relationship between large forms and detailed, nested patterns as I was on site building an art installation in an open lot near downtown Dallas. For Mycorrhiza, there was the scale of the whole piece which stretched across 800 square feet. At that scale, the work reads like a networked pattern informed by tree root structures in blue and white. Through making, I discovered massive roots, mountain ranges, and micro-terrains in the folds of the material. I worked with the blue and white paint to highlight these forms and bring them in to contrasted relief. Where the blues and whites mix together in overlapping mesh pieces, the color seems to radiate and reflect. The undulations merge into the existing ground.

Working on site is the most rewarding experience. When I did my first ever public art installation, I spent many hours over the course of three months on site to develop and build the piece in direct response to the site. I haven't always had the luxury of "enough" time on site and those times have left me feeling like the work was not really finished. As a landscape installation artist working in the public realm, I find it critical to have time and space to fully develop the idea.

 

mycorrhiza installation detail

 

Having time on site to work is a big part of what makes the art site specific. Site specificity in my landscape installation and public art means that the process and end result are directly informed by the place. That can mean at the scale of the neighborhood or region or a localized scale. Mycorrhiza was directly informed by the location and circumference of the Pecan tree trunks, the distance to the curb, the southern exposure, visibility from the host gallery, and the need for the neighbors to pass through the site.


I was pleasantly surprised at how fun it was to study the forms of the mesh as I sculpted them with my hands. Doing art installation work that is based in the landscape requires the use of my whole body. It makes me aware of how my hands and brain work as one to create something as I move through the space and think about other people experiencing the work.

Mycorrhiza was on view at 1710 Gould Street in Dallas Texas, and was hosted by RE Gallery.