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Environmental Artist Patricia Leighton Speaks at GMOA; “Equations” Opens at Hotel Indigo

Photo Credit: Barbette Houser

Patricia Leighton with her sculpture, “Terra Verte.”

Art lovers in Athens were amply spoiled Thursday, Sept. 25 with two very different but engaging events.

Environmental artist Patricia Leighton spoke about her installation “Terra Verte” at the Georgia Museum of Art. The Scottish born artist has installed large-scale earthworks in Scotland, England, South Korea, Bulgaria and New York, among other places. “Terra Verte” is a series of six large metal framed cubes filled with sedum and other vegetation; it is currently on display in the Jane and Harry Willson Sculpture Garden, a space at GMA devoted to the work of women sculptors.

Leighton began her address by stating that she is “delighted to see the changes in the work” since she was in Athens last May. The tall and slender artist then showed images of her impressive environmental art, including pictures of “Sawtooth Ramps,” a very large earthwork she installed along the M8 Motorway in Scotland with a team of landscape architects, engineers and ecologists. Much like her mentor and former teacher, the renowned fiber artist and sculptor Magdalena Abakanowicz, Leighton “likes to get a sense of timelessness and mystery” with her works. Many of her installations have a sense of spirituality to them.

Another quality Leighton aspires to in her works is a sense of connection to their environment. “Even though the work is often quite large, I don’t want it to say ‘look at me’. I like them to feel they are connected to the place.” She always “considers the site and its relevant ecological conditions.” This helps to explain why her “Terra Verte” cubes at GMA seem to belong to the sculpture garden in which they are situated, and why the plants contained within them continue to thrive and grow. The way the cubes mimic the geometry of the pavers in the garden also helps to root them to the site.

Julie Perkins admires a work by Rusty Wallace in %22Equations%22 at Hotel Indigo.JPG

Photo Credit: Barbette Houser

Julie Perkins admires a work by Rusty Wallace in “Equations” at Hotel Indigo.JPG

Meanwhile, across downtown, the Hotel Indigo celebrated its latest exhibits with an opening party for “Equations” in the gallery and “Nocturne” by Dana Jo Cooley in the Glass Cube. “Equations” features a number of regional artists, including Rusty Wallace, Moon Jung Jang, Cal Clements, Molly Rose Freeman, Andy Moon Wilson, Kelly Kristin Jones, Eric Mack, Craig Dongoski, and Elizabeth Kleene. All the works are inspired by mathematics, mapping and statistics, and the show, like the opening, has a youthful and contemporary energy that is refreshing.

To see “Sawtooth Ramps,” go to “Terra Verte will be on view at the Georgia Museum of Art through May 15, 2015. “Equations” will be on display at the gallery at Hotel Indigo through Dec. 29.