It’s all about the land
Two artists present their work in a joint exhibition in the Symphony’s gallery on Broadway in Cottonwood Falls.
Bill McBride, a sculptor living in Matfield Green, works with natural and man-made materials he finds in the tallgrass prairie of the Flint Hills. His sculpture expresses his view that humans, nature and everyday objects evolve as equals from the creative energy of the ever-changing universe.
Amanda Maciuba, a printmaker and bookmaker from Iowa at present works as artist in residence at the Lawrence Art Center and at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. Her work is concerned with how the effects of purposeful human actions, alongside uncontrollable factors of time and nature, alter both the current landscape and human agency within that landscape.
The body of Maciuba’s work on show focuses on Eastern Iowa. The aftermath of the five-hundred-year flood strongly influenced her. “I am interested in the irony of rebuilding the same buildings on almost the same ground that flooded in 2008 and how these actions demonstrate the stubborn perversity of American development procedures in the face of natural disasters often brought about by climate change. The frequency and consistency of weather-related emergencies I witnessed while living in Iowa City paralleled the physical and emotional remnants of the five-hundred- year flood. Every year, the river was sandbagged just in case the water got too high again, every year the ‘flood- proof walls’ went up and then came back down.”
While the work on show in Cottonwood Falls specifically refers to Iowa City, it can also relate to similar efforts of construction and destruction occurring because of, or in spite of, climate change. “As I create the work I question how the land we live on has become what it is today. And I consider my own impact upon the landscape.”
McBride’s work is “Earth Art” – of and about the earth; like Maciuba’s work it is of and about humans and nature. He makes smaller sculpture for interiors as well as large, outdoor site-specific pieces. “In my studio I muse about the objects I encounter – branches, stone, barb wire wooden posts, parts of ranching machinery. Each has a story to tell. I explore relationships between the different objects (visual resonance, structural character, evocative power) and add my own experiences, perceptions, feelings, and memories. Form and metaphor emerge through dialogue between creative forces – the place, materials, and me, the sculptor.”
McBride is currently at work on a sculpture path, a joint effort with the Center for Living Education in Matfield Green and Wichita State University Art Department on the Flint Hills Scenic Byway just north of Matfield Green. McBride’s installations and earth art by other artists will form Matfield Station Sculpture Prairie, opening to the public in 2017. McBride says, “The path invites people to experience the prairie and art at the same time.”
Symphony in the Flint Hills Gallery
Cottonwood Falls, Kansas
June 11 to August 3, 2016
Daily 10 to 5