October 14, 2018
POSTPONED TO A FUTURE DATE IN 2019 (TO BE ANNOUNCED)
due to inclement weather conditions
An installation by Shawn Skabelund
Shawn will introduce “Binding Earth to Sky” at the Closing Reception for “Encircling Vastness”
This pasture next to The Volland Store will host an installation of hay bales by artist Shawn Skabelund, beginning October 14, 2018. They will remain in place until an undesignated future date. Watch their progress as they change.
Binding the Earth to Sky
Happy the captive and enchanted souls
Seduced by love to stay, with eyes like flowers
That weave their hanging gardens in the sun!
(O birth that wakes in me, as each day rises,
And death that takes me as each moment passes,
Bud opening, and leaf falling) Incarnation
Moves with divine trespass into the dawn
Earth’s seamless dress, eternally made man.
What stands between that space of earth and sky? Bison, cattle, tall grass prairie, corn, soybeans.
The prairie grasses that bind this earth to sky, roots reaching deep, their tips barely visible above singed soil. Native Americans observed this place they called home. Lightning striking the tilled canvas, painting a carpet of green across the blackened ground, a feast laid out for the humpbacked, shaggy-haired ox that sustained them.
The summer grasses grow tall, rich in protein for the cattle to feed. This is the time to harvest, to mow and bale, storage for the winter months ahead. Autumn arrives and the gentle prairie becomes a color field of beauty, a palette of ochers and maroon, dead to the sky, alive in the earth, resting for the spring burn. The cattlemen learned from those they had displaced – that in order to have this new landscape become their economy, fire was the cleansing element needed for resurrection.
As an ecologist, fire is the catalyst for a near perfect symbiotic relationship between earth and sky. As a sculptor, the hay bales, rolled out on a two-dimensional plane of cut grass, become the three-dimensional form, the symbol of a near perfect economical harmony between culture and nature.
As I walk the Flint Hills, the clink of limestone under my feet, I think about that economical relationship. I think about the past cultures that roamed here, and I think about our culture, now here, in this place, and how we reside – our economy of a place, on Earth, and who we have become and will become, and the communal life we share with other species. We are a species among species, interdependent.