Public art initiative reaches gardens' grounds with nature-inspired Shayne Dark installation
Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined Thursday by Deputy Erie County Executive Maria Whyte, President/CEO of the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens David J. Swarts, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Deputy Director of the Albright Knox Art Gallery Dr. Joe Lin-Hill, art lovers and community members at the Botanical Gardens as a new public art installation was unveiled on the gardens' grounds.
The result of collaboration between the Albright-Knox public art initiative and the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, the new installation features the work of Canadian artist Shayne Dark, who was present at the event, and will place all-natural sculptures in buildings and outdoor spaces around the Botanical Gardens through September.
"This public art installation brings natural, thought-provoking artworks into a unique facility with its own world-class attractions, and represents a perfect melding of art and nature. Moreover, these artworks will be right at home in this beautiful Frederick Law Olmsted-designed park and will attract thousands of visitors for a complete day of enjoyment here," Poloncarz said. "My thanks go to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the Botanical Gardens for working together to bring this beautiful artwork here. Shayne Dark's work looks right at home here on the grounds, and I encourage everyone to come and see a presentation they will long remember."
Twelve of Dark's works are presented in the installation, inviting visitors to the Botanical Gardens to learn more about the artist, his offerings, and the interplay between art and nature as they explore the grounds and discover each work. Selected works are on exhibit among the gardens' indoor galleries, presenting striking visuals and creating a heightened sense of the natural aspects and materials used in Dark's compositions.
Several large works are placed outside, including Dark's "Tanglewood," "Dropstones 1, 2, & 3," and a work from the artist's "MacLachlan Woodworking Museum" series. These larger offerings bring brilliant colors, unusual shapes and provocative compositions to the grounds, and invite visitors to stroll, contemplate and enjoy a complete artistic experience.
"This public art collaboration provides visitors with a wonderful opportunity to experience two art forms - natural and creative - simultaneously in a beautiful historical and architectural setting," Swarts said. "We are excited to have Shayne Dark's wonderful exhibit at the Botanical Gardens and the opportunity to work with Albright Knox on this project."
The historic grounds of the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens provide a fitting setting for the works of Dark, whose artistic interests heavily incorporate natural themes and elements. For example, the orientation of the Botanical Gardens' grounds, situated in a park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, allows for remarkable sight lines and juxtapositions of natural and artistic beauty. In addition, the architectural majesty of the Lord & Burnham-designed conservatory that is the gardens' centerpiece, accompanied by the overall grace and symmetry of the entire gardens' complex, provides multiple avenues for interplay between man-made and natural art.
"We are delighted to partner with a fellow cultural institution to present this magnificent exhibition," Lin-Hill said. "Indeed, collaboration lies at the very foundation of the AK public art initiative, and I warmly thank my colleagues in Erie County and the City of Buffalo for the extraordinary partnership that has made this initiative possible. Beautiful projects like this one, and the collaborative spirit necessary for its realization, are great examples of what makes Buffalo and Erie County such a wonderful place to live, work and grow."
In addition to the exhibition, the public art initiative will host a one-week residency for Dark at the Botanical Gardens. He will source local organic material on the gardens' grounds in consultation with staff and volunteers to create a site-specific installation, offering direct insights into his creative practice and allowing visitors to witness the evolution of the work from raw materials to finished product.
Above, Poloncarz later joined Whyte, Swarts and members of the public inside. The county executive helped to unveil the new pieces of public art by Canadian artist Shayne Dark, which will be on display through September thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Albright-Knox public art initiative and the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens.