When you proceed down the outdoor steps of the Class of ’66 Environmental Center, four driftwood-and-glass sculptures come into view. These pieces are part of wooden planets, Eva Henderson ’19’s first installation as the Zilkha Center’s Artist-in-Residence. On Friday, fellow Zilkha Center interns and friends gathered at the Envi Center’s patio to celebrate the opening of the exhibition.
Each piece consists of grayed driftwood that is roughly two feet long, whose graceful curves seem to emerge from the grassy steps. Glass and porcelain shards in a variety of shapes and colors appear to be standing upright on their edges, but are in fact carefully glued. Some form towers several pieces high, creating the illusion of precarious balance. The sculptures are made from found objects, with every piece of wood and glass collected by Eva herself.
“I’ve been using driftwood in conjunction with found objects for a while now, and the inspiration for that is one specific piece of driftwood on the shore of the Hoosic River,” said Eva, explaining her inspiration for the works. “Over the course of probably many years- I don’t know when it started- people have collected pieces of glass and any man-made objects that wash up on the bank, and they pile them over this big log. It’s a really strange and wonderful place,” she said.
Eva created these works with the Envi Center’s steps in mind; the knobbly texture of the wood matches that of the steps, and the mix of organic and manmade materials echoes that of the Envi Center itself. “The patio steps are beautiful, yet often go unused. I hope that my installation encourages other students to take advantage of this space,” said Eva. Taking a break from observing the sculptures to pick some mint leaves and the occasional blueberry is encouraged.
According to Eva, wooden planets will be on view “until somebody asks me to remove them.” Be sure to visit them soon. More of her work can be viewed at evahenderson.net.
Sarah Ritzmann ’17 is a sustainable writing intern for the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives.