“Sentient,” 18 feet. All images © The Morton Arboretum, shared with permission
Spread across the 1,700 acres at The Morton Arboretum just outside of Chicago are five enormous figures by Cape Town-based artist Daniel Popper (previously). Constructed mainly of wood with elements of glass-reinforced concrete, fiberglass, and steel, the looming sculptures stand out against the verdant landscape and pay homage to nature’s endurance and diversity, particularly the 220,000 individual specimens growing on the grounds. Human+Nature is Popper’s largest exhibition to date.
The female figures, four of which are shown here, vary in pose, material, and overall aesthetic. “Hallow,” which stands at the arboretum’s entrance, is a poetic sculpture evocative of the fern-canopied installation the artist unveiled late last year in Fort Lauderdale. “Sentient,” on the other hand, surrounds a central bust with a surreal assemblage of facial features depicted on angled hunks of wood. Each is constructed at a monumental scale, standing up to 26 feet tall and weighing multiple metric tons.