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Art and Nature – One and the Same?

November 22, 2010

Yesterday, I had the chance to visit 100 Acres, the art and nature park at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, with my friend Liz. Besides the fact that it was a beautiful and mild November day, the park, which incorporates large-scale art pieces throughout the natural setting, made me wonder about the differences between nature and art.

Is nature art? Is art nature? Or do they complement one another?

The Art Museum’s website says,

“the park is designed to strengthen the public’s understanding of the unique, reciprocal relationships between contemporary art and the natural world.”

Reciprocal implies to me that the two correspond, complement each other, or are in relationship, but are not the same.

From what I have read about Alexander Pope, the 18th century poet, he thoughtfully explored this relationship between nature and art. For him, nature was art, and all artists seek to express the underlying harmony and form found already in nature. I can honestly say that this is what I found at the art and nature park yesterday, with its 8 site-specific installations.

As we entered the park by crossing a bright red bridge, I was struck by the red berries next to the bridge. The bridge and the berries seemed drawn to one another, and the soothing blue water underneath showed them both off.

One of the installations, Funky Bones by artist Atelier van Lieshout, consists of 20 fiberglass benches, which altogether form a human skeleton. Besides representing the human body, one of the greatest works of art, it also reminds us of an archaeological dig and that our bodies eventually become part of the earth once more. It is a great place to pause and reflect.

Bench Around the Lake by Jeppe Hein, consists of yellow benches scattered throughout the park, in unusual shapes and sizes. They look as if they are emerging from the ground and into the ground and are connected to all of the other benches through an underground system. Here, the yellow bench seems connected to the big rock as well.

To me, nature is art and my photographic art is definitely inspired by nature. Not only is each individual element of nature perfect as it is, the underlying harmony which connects everything is also perfect and soothes my soul. Thanks, Liz, for sharing it with me.

What do you think?

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 22, 2010 5:36 pm

    This certainly makes one stop and think. I think that nature is art…and many of us try to capture it in poems, paintings, photography, or just sitting on one of those yellow benches admiring everything around it. Yes, I believe nature is art!

  2. November 22, 2010 6:45 pm

    Someone tried to argue that something is not real unless it is seen. If course, it exists, it is up to us to take it in with the right proportions. The trouble is instead of the rock bench we see and make the the over fabricated bus stops with metal and billboards. Instead of nature/god we see my way verses your way.

    Leave it to the ultimate “see”ers to stir things up too much and make a mess of it. It is a good thing we have the nature park.

  3. Liz Buckley permalink
    November 24, 2010 2:40 pm

    Thanks to you too, Kim. It was a beautiful, and inspiring, walk through the park. I agree that nature is art. I found this quote that I feel goes along with this belief ~~~ “If the sight of the blue skies fill you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things in nature have a message you understand ~ then rejoice ~ for your soul is alive.” Eleanore Duse

    • November 24, 2010 5:42 pm

      Love the quote! Anything that makes your soul come alive is inspiration.

  4. November 26, 2010 12:42 pm

    Oh yes nature and art as a compliment to each other just makes sense. I couldn’t imagine some of my photos being the same without nature’s inspiration.

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