Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Scultures in the Wild

 Our goal for this day off was to journey to a place we'd not seen before since our time in Montana. This site was recommended by fellow workampers so we made the 80 mile trip to Lincoln to see it. The welcoming sign says, "Blackfoot Pathways Sculpture in the Wild hosts some of the most innovative land and environmental art in Montana. Our mission is to provide an environment for the creation of significant artworks, both permanent and temporary. inspired by the rich and diverse cultural, environmental and industrial heritage of the Blackfoot Valley while fostering an awareness and appreciation of the arts through community engagement and education as well as our artist-in-residency program." This project began in 2014 as an International Sculpture Symposium when several artists worked with Lincoln community members to create this beautiful, unusual park.

 With excitement we headed for the first "sculpture", a transplanted teepee burner, a remnant of the once thriving timber industry in Montana. Inside were large photo displays of the former days of logging. We learned that concerts are held inside the burner. What a unique venue!

 Entitled "Gateway of Change", two trees growing apart, reunited again at the top, symbolize a gateway to new experiences. This design was imagined and constructed by Danish 
artist Jorn Ronnau.

Perhaps our favorite display was "Tree Circus" a fascinating work by a USA artist Patrick Dougherty. This edifice had inside chambers, doorways and windows looking out at the lovely forest of Ponderosa pines. We could easily imagine building a fire in the center, open to the sky, and throwing our sleeping bags into the inner "rooms".

 Part of God's artistry here, tiny baby chipmunks playing in the grass. They were the size of our thumbs and oblivious to our snapping camera.

 "Ponderosa Whirlpool" really did make us feel slightly dizzy. A quote from Chris Drury of the UK, "I wanted something which was in contrast to the verticality of the trees but which in some way seemed to draw down the sky into the earth." I think he succeeded!

Entitled "Stringer", the USA artist Casey Schachner wanted to "reflect on the balance between industry and environment, and the mutually beneficial relationship between human and nature." I could see this easily as I looked at the growing, thriving Ponderosas next to the cut and peeled poles used in human construction. 

 This amazing and imaginative sculpture was constructed of nothing but stacked up newspapers wound around poles. What an idea! The structure is composed of 28 lodge poles, 400 pounds of nails and 30,000 pounds of newspaper. The artist, Steven Siegel, worked with volunteers from Lincoln, Helena, Missoula and beyond over a 3 week period. It was indeed a community project.

Our last sculpture could not be seen from the trail, since it's all below ground! We had fun winding our way through it. It's called "East West Passage" the creation of Sam Clayton and Mark Jacobs of the UK. They said, "We built a sculpture that had to be experienced, navigated, a sculpture that spoke the local visual language and used the built corners we so admired, a sculpture born out of its place where the continent divides, lines zig-zag, and new routes of passage become possible." I'm not sure I understand all that, but I admired the creativity and the work that went into building it. As a bonus, at this display we met a fellow tourist who had lived in England, as Mr. Keith had, and we had quite a discussion about the differences between our culture and the culture of the UK. 

As a fitting end to our quite fascinating and educational day in Lincoln, we ate lunch in the tiny town of Ovando, claiming 50 residents and 100 dogs, at a little restaurant called 
The Stray Bullet.