Shayne Dark is known for making complex sculptures from tree branches, trunks, and roots that evoke nature while taking on majestic new forms. In July 2016, the artist worked on the grounds of Brooklyn Botanic Garden to create a new site-specific, large-scale installation on Cherry Walk. This new work, along with three of his existing pieces, will remain on display until summer 2017.
Works on Display
Glacial Series: Drop Stones
2014; corten steel, bronze | near Lily Pool Terrace
These minimal sculptures are Dark’s interpretation of erratic boulders left by glaciers. Visit the Rock Garden to see real glacial erratics, deposited here during the last ice age.
2014; cedar, paint | Osborne Garden
Made of reclaimed cedar logs, this self-supporting sculpture engages gravity and other powerful forces.
2010; applewood, aircraft cable | Conservatory Entry
Dark found these apple tree root balls in Canada’s Prince Edward County. He stripped the balls of dirt and bark, trimmed and scraped the interior skin, and was left with these elements.
2016; cedar, paint | near Cherry Walk
Created for Brooklyn Botanic Garden during Dark's residency in summer 2016.
The actual physical process of creating the art, rather than the finished product, is most important to me. This process becomes a form of exploration of the materials.
My installations are often related to a specific site or gallery space. Each time I assemble an installation, it changes—I expect there to be unplanned or accidental formations, which make the work always temporary in nature. It’s an essential aesthetic factor, and I’m always excited to see how the work changes depending on the site.
Most of my works are large-scale, labor-intensive constructions. I’ve traditionally used mostly natural material, radically transforming it with color. The intensity and saturation of color give the work a slightly surreal quality, but the viewer immediately sees the obvious links to nature.
The complex arrangements of interdependent elements embody the processes of both creation and destruction. There is no particular vantage point, no single view or central focus. It’s my hope to create abstracted compositions that foster contemplation and make the viewer reconsider the worldly values that our culture subscribes to.
Talking with Artist Shayne Dark
Shayne Dark discusses the inspiration behind his works, how he chooses materials, and how he goes about installing such large, complex pieces in a public space.