CHANHASSEN, MINN.- The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
presents "Steelroots: Touching Earth & Sky," a unique outdoor exhibition of 16 massive root forms, sculpted in steel by acclaimed Pennsylvania artist Steve Tobin. "Steelroots" opened April 16 and continues through January 2012.
"We are pleased to host this major exhibition. The Arboretum is a perfect setting for Steve Tobin's soaring and evocative root sculptures," said Arboretum Director Ed Schneider.
Tobins sculptures are a dramatic fusion of nature and art. "The landscape and sculptures will work in tandem to encourage visitors to see the wonders of nature as inspiration for my art," said the artist.
This is the first exhibition ever of Tobins Steelroots sculpture series in Minnesota, and only its second showing worldwide. (It was most recently displayed at Chicago's Morton Arboretum.) Highlights include:
A series of sculptures of massive rolled and bent steel pipes soaring up to 40 feet;
A pair of bronze root sculptures titled Romeo & Juliet;
A bronze sculpture of a forest floor;
Steel interpretations of pine cones; and
Five child-sized root sculptures 3-5 feet high.
"Set among the Arboretums pristine gardens and peaceful groves, these works invite you to touch, stroll through or even lie down beneath them, to discover your own unique views of the land around you, views that change with the light and the seasons," said Sandy Tanck, Arboretum manager of interpretation.
Many of the sculptures have been installed at the Arboretum (the process is easier on frozen ground). The sculptures are sited around the Arboretum's Oswald Visitor Center and along a half-mile paved walk from the Visitor Center to the ever-popular Maze Garden. They rise in scale as the landscape changes from intimate gardens of roses, dwarf evergreens and bright perennials to quiet groves of towering oaks and pines. "Is it art framed by nature or nature framed by art? The interplay invites your participation, to see whats around you with fresh eyes," said Tanck.
"The diverse topography and the amazing sight lines at the Arboretum make it a perfect setting for Steelroots. The interplay of landscape and sculptures encourage visitors to see the wonders of nature framed by my Steelroots," said artist Tobin. "My work activates rather than dominates the surroundings, making this a perfect marriage between landscape and art. The shadows cast by the monumental Steelroots (up to 40" high) make ever-changing drawings on the Earth."
Plan to refresh your natural spirit through the seasons during the run of the exhibit. "Steelroots" sculptures range in color, deep black, ethereal white or rust-toned patina. As the Arboretum landscape shifts from spring green to verdant summer, fall russet and gold, then winters hushed snows, seasonal change will bring new dimensions to the work.
Steve Tobin gained international acclaim in 2004 with the dramatic installation of the Trinity Root sculpture near Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan, the first and only art memorial near the 9/11 disaster site. The sculpture is a bronze casting of the stump and roots of the historic sycamore tree that saved St. Paul's Chapel during the attack on the World Trade Center. The transcendent sculpture is permanently sited on the corner of Wall Street and Broadway where millions of visitors see it each year.
"The function for me of roots is to show the power of the unseen," Tobin told the New York Times. "And on 9/11, we found out about the power of all our unseen connections, the things that nurture us that are hidden below the surface."