Friday, October 4, 2013

Disco stump?

Underlife, Jason Middlebrook, 2012-13, steel, fiberglass, and tile, 360 inches wide.

War of the Worlds alien monster? Priscilla Queen of the Desert prop? Disco stump? Nope, it's a mirrored mosaic garden art installation by Hudson, New York artist Jason Middlebrook, titled "Underlife" on the grounds of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery here in Buffalo. It's actually still in progress, the work is surrounded by a chain link fence currently. It does have a lighting source for night time. I'd love to see what it looks like lit at night. It is scheduled to be finished this month. Th intent is to have visitors be able to walk under it.

The artwork is made of fiberglass and mosaic-mirrored tile. It's a homage to Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of Central Park and Buffalo's system of parks, parkways and traffic circles. It was created in response to the existing Frederick Law Olmsted–designed landscape that surrounds the Art Gallery’s campus – inspired by a tree that the artist uprooted on his property in downstate New York, it features a complex root system lifted from the soil and propped on root ends. The installation was commissioned by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery as part of its campus revamp.

Middlebrook is "...interested in the literal and metaphorical decay of landscapes and the point at which nature and culture clash. Often using recycled or salvaged materials—which he says 'have a history and still have a future'—he creates sculptural installations that re-render the natural environment. Throughout his work, Middlebrook questions the tense relationships humans have with nature and art. Although his work is a critique of these relationships, it is also a commentary on the beauty that surrounds us, even if we cannot see it."
Close-up of the mosaic "bark."

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