Nature and Art: An Interactive Relationship

There are many paintings of beautiful sights in nature, such as landscapes, animals, gardens, rivers, and seascapes.  You may be familiar with the work of Claude Monet, Paul Cezanne, Vincent Van Gogh, Winslow Homer, David Hockney, J.M.W.Turner, Paul Klee and Georgia O’Keeffe, among others.

There are also sculptors who literally integrate their work with nature. Anna Gillespie is a sculptor who incorporates elements such as acorn caps, beechnut casings and stones into her sculptures. Another artist, Andy Goldsworthy, has created sculptures out of ice, frost, snow and frozen earth.

But, have you ever seen nature and art together?  If you have a chance, treat yourself and your family and visit the Bronx Botanical Gardens, in New York City.* (It closes October 29.) There you will see unusual glass sculptures amidst plants and flowers. The artist, Dale Chichuly, strategically placed these sculptures both inside Botanical Gardens Conservatory and outside in the gardens. Neon lights highlight the sculptures at night.

Chihuly is a renowned glass sculptor whose work has been displayed in more than 200 museum collections worldwide. He designs glass structures and directs a team of people to actually create his sculptures. His fascination with glasshouses resulted in a series of exhibitions in botanical settings. Besides the current Bronx Botanical Gardens exhibit, he has exhibited in the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago, the Royal Botanic Gardens near London and the Seattle Center.

A little more about glassblowing . . . Basically glassblowing is the art of shaping glass, that has been softened by heat, by blowing air into it through a tube. Did you ever wonder how glassblowing came to be? Around 1500 BC, based on excavations, the earliest recorded use of glass was by the Egyptians. They used it to glaze tiles, and to make figures and beads. Over the centuries it has evolved as you can see in Chichuly’s work.

*Note: You may also want to visit Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton Township, New Jersey which is open all  year.

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