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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Art Meets Nature at Lynden Sculpture Garden

Art Review

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Blue skies and glorious sunshine provided the perfect backdrop for the June 12 opening of "Inverse," the most recent Inside/Outside event at the Lynden Sculpture Garden (2145 W. Brown Deer Road). Amy Cropper and Stuart Morris, art partners in the sublime, are conduits for considering possibilities. Their work is up through Aug. 10.

Art links with nature links with art. The concept isn't new, but Cropper and Morris put a twist on the tried and true. The garden, set on lush acres dotted with outstanding sculptures, is perfect in itself, but when natural objects are altered via color and placement, an expanded conversation is possible. We are nudged to question the barriers dividing nature and the objects fashioned by Homo sapiens.

I stroll to a tall ash tree, transplanted and stripped of its lower branches and painted screaming yellow. Near, but not too near (Cropper and Morris are subtle), a screaming yellow George Sugarman sculpture (Trio) loops the landscape. They seem disconnected until I walk around the sculpture and let it frame the ash tree.

Take your time. Wade through tall grasses to view a painted (orange) hawthorn. Pause now in a grove of dark green firs, near a boulder commemorating the Bradley family. The ashes of Harry and Peg Bradley are said to abide there in the cool of the green, where a minimalist spike of red, a stripped-down tree, punctuates the experience.

Beyond the solitude, in a birch grove, boulders altered red nest in clumps of daffodils past their prime. A doe bounds from a thicket; lush lily pads bloom in the lake.

In the gallery space, a bower of branches hung high casts shadow-memories. On the gallery floor, a hefty boulder rests on a cushion of grasses and leaves, giving it the appearance of a Flintstone egg mislaid. It struck me as silly, though perhaps the cushion was necessary to protect the wood floor.

There's more in this season of Lynden loveliness, and it's yours to peruse at lyndensculpturegarden.org. As I exited, a group of yoga enthusiasts twisted themselves into living sculptures.