Lexington Art LeagueConstruction of Nexus: Toward New Land Art Resumes Monday
Project halted after a 150-year-old tree fell on the in-progress sculpture
In August, Kansas-based artist Matt Burke traveled to LAL @ Loudoun House to lead the local community in the construction of a 60-foot-long sculpture. Its design, a network of woven wooden tubes intersecting a heart-like anchoring point, was inspired by a giant bur oak that had distinguished the façade of the Loudoun House since its construction in 1852.
On the final day of construction, after more than 120 hours of work, a gentle gust of wind toppled the enormous tree, which came to rest right on top of the nearly-completed sculpture. Fortunately, Burke and community volunteers assisting with the build were on a lunch break and no one was injured.
“Of course it was incredibly disappointing to have the tree fall on Nexus, but it was also wonderfully inspiring,” said Burke. “Seeing this giant tree sideways on the lawn showed us just how awesome a body of work it was, and I immediately began thinking of ways to integrate the original inspiration for the sculpture into its final design.”
Burke watched as a clean up crew reduced the tree that had shaded him and the volunteers from the sweltering August heat into a 3-foot tall, 4-foot round stump. It is that stump that Burke plans to use a point of departure for his new design.
“The tree has been a source of inspiration since I first visited LAL @ Loudoun House in late spring,” said Burke. “It dictated the original limb-like design, the materials used in the sculpture, and the placement of the finished piece of art on the lawn. I think it’s fitting that now it will literally give rise to Nexus in the same way it gave rise to so many ideas surrounding the project.”
Burke returns to Lexington on Oct. 11 to lead volunteers from the community in the completion of Nexus: Toward New Land Art. The centerpiece of the sculpture as well as some tunnels, which were salvaged from the wreckage and stored in a container generously donated by PODS, will give volunteers a visual point of reference, and everyone, regardless of age or experience, is invited to work on the sculpture. Construction will run Monday thru Saturday, Oct. 16, from 9am to 5pm. For more information, contact LAL at www.lexingtonartleague.org or 859-254-7024.
“LAL is committed to exhibiting thought-provoking visual art that engages our community,” said Becky Alley, LAL’s exhibitions and programs director. “Nexus: Toward New Land Art gives our citizens an opportunity to participate in the creation of a piece of public art and addresses environmental issues that are personally relevant to our region. It uses visual art as a tool for bringing people together and inspiring understanding.”
Nexus: Toward New Land Art will remain at LAL @ Loudoun House through June 2011. Visitors will be able to interact with the sculpture, which will change as it is exposed to the elements brought on by the changing seasons. A journal will also be maintained to document the insects and animals that use the sculpture as a habitat.
The Lexington Art League is Lexington's oldest and largest visual arts organization. LAL envisions visual art as the lens through which central Kentucky will distinguish itself as a progressive, inclusive and vibrant region. LAL presents original and creative programs, with a reputation for thought-provoking content, that illuminate the role of visual art in contemporary life. Please visit www.lexingtonartleague.org for more information.
About Matt Burke
Matt Burke is an Assistant Professor of Sculpture in the University of Kansas Art Department. He grew-up in northeastern Connecticut and spent over a decade in New York City making art and exhibiting in many venues. He has had numerous one person shows and participated in several group shows including, PS1 MoMA in Queens, NY, the Hopper House Art Center in Nyack, NY, the Brooklyn Museum of Art in NY, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC. His work is in several major museums and collections including, the Museum of Modern Art Library, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Cleveland Institute of Art Library. He lives in Lawrence, KS, with his wife and son.
Current LAL Exhibitions
LAL @ Loudoun House – KY.7 Biennial features innovative and culturally relative artwork by contemporary artists living in Kentucky and its seven contiguous states: Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The exhibition is open throughOctober 23.
LAL Project Space – In Microarray, artist Vera Scekic, from Evanston, Illinois, creates the illusion of a floating dot-and-grid painting through the special arrangement of a collection of over 1400 Styrofoam cups with painted bases. Installation is on exhibit thru October 23.
LAL @ the Mayor’s Office – Visual Dialogue: The Human Fabric features 25 photographs by Transylvania University Student H.B. Elam, who received a grant from the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust to document the process behind a community art project. The exhibition is open through October 29.