Ecstatic Nature

Birch bark, pine needles, marine shell; copper tubing assembled with stainless steel screws and epoxy; Portland cement mixes with metal foil and nylon reinforcement; acrylic paint and sealer

2014

Dimensions: 73 x 73 x 66

You know the feeling of riding a wave, being lifted off the sea floor; or standing on frozen ground looking up at a starry sky overarching the countryside? Ecstatic Nature is about floating, vaulting, leaving the ground but staying connected to it. The more you know about how deeply connected we are in nature—mixing together our ties to land, water, and air—the more elated and freer you get, and the paradoxical sense of that makes the ecstasy all the more intense. The ground you walk on, the rocks you touch are that old! The here you think of was not always here. In this romance with nature, it embraces us and knows us as much as we know it, creates a feeling of lightness, floating, brokenness, openness, and redemptive ecstasy. 

The figure is supported by a single arm that grows down into roots made of copper tubing and reinforced cement. Each part of the figure makes a different kind of connection to nature—organic materials, visual analogs, wild color juxtapositions, holes in bark that look like eyes. The facial expression is wonder. Volumes of space are only suggested, giving it a sense of openness. Textures and colors race through and around the figure, and even the base base beneath it. 

Curious fact: Legend has it that a cow living near Saratoga Springs, NY, wandered from its field and fell into a crevice. When the farmer pulled the cow out he discovered stromatolites, rock-like accretions of photosynthetic bacteria that evolved in tropical seas. Geological models of tectonic plate movements locate this area of North America in the southern hemisphere 3 billion years ago!

© 2018 Phillip Stern