Woods to Water: Temporal Sculpture on the Land
Environmentally Themed Art Installations at Germantown Academy
Woods to Water had an amazing debut during GA's Preserve Day. Take a look!
Weavings: an exploration
Leah Frankel (GA '03)
Description: Spider webs have always been an inspiration to me. Their perfect geometry and exquisite functional construction with the finest silk threads seem impossible and yet quintessential in our ecosystem. In Weavings: an exploration, I explore weavings using the traditional warp and weft method, as well as radial patterns inspired by spider webs using bright nylon rope, natural manila rope, and other materials that are used for weaving, knotting, and tying. Textile based craft is at the center of so many modern techniques and technologies, and I am exploring material and pattern on a hand–made scale. Colored weavings along the trail will attract attention of hikers and display unique patterns, perhaps mimicking patterns in their environment.
Location: Among the trees along the trail towards Sisters’ Woods
Using site as impetus, Leah Frankel’s work uses ordinary materials to draw attention to the complex relationship between human existence and its remarkable environment. In 2011, Frankel built an abstracted scale model of the Wissahickon Watershed in GA’s Upper School Gallery constructed out of and inspired by reclaimed building materials from the demolition of the middle school. Frankel is a 2003 graduate of Germantown Academy, completed her MFA at The Ohio State University in 2014 and is currently Assistant Professor of Sculpture at Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY.
Photos showcasing GA's natural spaces taken by Upper School Honors Photography Students: Conall Sweeney '19, Devon Gelman '19, Hiten Dudhat '19, and Shelby Kuenhle '19
Description: Unfired clay slabs will be placed alongside the edges of paths, under trees and around the butterfly garden representing the shapes and forms of plant growth present in the wooded and marshland areas. Collected plant life from the grounds will be pressed and printed into unfired clay to create patterned impressions in the clay. In some cases, the imagery pressed into the clay will mimic or mirror the plants as they grow along the path, perhaps suggesting a shadow. Most forms will be an arrangement of the natural materials into patterns that accentuate the repetitive nature of growth and/or decay; for instance, a pattern of broken walnut shells found in multiples on the ground in early fall. The temporal printed clay pieces will remain onsite to decompose and revert back into the surface of the ground.
Locations: Sisters’ Woods to the left of Oberkircher Field; the Butterfly Garden; along the left side of the trail entering The Preserve
Nancy Agati’s work addresses transformations and patterns in nature through physical investigations of materials. Her multi-disciplinary work includes works on paper, sculpture, textiles, site-specific installation and public art. Agati holds a BFA from Alfred University, School of Art & Design, NY and an MFA from The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA.
She has exhibited her work throughout Philadelphia, nationally, and abroad with solo exhibitions at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, Pentimenti Gallery, Philadelphia, Hillyer Art Space, Washington, DC., and others. Nancy Agati has been awarded artist-in-residence placements at the Santa Fe Art Institute, New Mexico, Lo Studio dei Nipoti, Calabria, Italy, and Main & Station in Nova Scotia. As a recent Hemera Foundation Tending Space Fellow, Agati has been investigating the intersection of meditation as it relates to her art making process.
(Behind) You !
Logan Schulman and Rachel Ceciro
Description: Our interactive mirror sculpture focuses the viewer's intentionality and understanding of their own bodily presence, as well as the presence of other life forms within The Preserve. While the mirror panels provide the viewer with a multivalent and panoramic vision of their own body in the Wissahickon’s environment, the panels simultaneously decentralize the surrounding flora. The eyes of the viewer may initially see their own body in focus, and the surrounding habitat out of focus. It takes an intentional concentration for the viewer to focus on all that exists behind their own body in the visible reflection, and also in the ecology which exists beyond the art work. The auditory portion of the sculpture allows the viewer to bear witness to the small and large sonic signals created by the wind, rain, people, and animal inhabitants integral to this ecosystem on the Wissahickon's banks. In this way, the sculpture intends to stimulate the viewer’s visual and auditory senses and to present an amplified engagement with the surrounding ecology.
Location: A grassy clearing among the cattail reeds near the Baseball Field and Carey Stadium
Logan Schulman is a director, dramaturg, and designer whose work always attempts a reflexivity of liveness and meaningful engagement with space. He lives in Philadelphia, PA with his partner, Rachel, and their cat, Centimeter.
Rachel Ceciro is a choreographer and cultural/ecological interpreter. Her work focuses on social and environmental justice. She lives in Philadelphia, together with Logan and Centimeter.
Description: This installation contains 300 clay "seed" pods. Each pod represents 1,000 species that go extinct each year. Yes, that’s 300,000 species going extinct each year. However, these pods do not contain seeds — they contain wishes for healing the Earth, hand-written by the Germantown Academy (GA) community. This installation asks the viewer to reflect on some key environmental themes: Caring for our planet is a profound act of social activism; Change is part of the natural cycle of life; Our beautiful Planet is a living Being that needs respect, love, and healing — right now; A simple ceremony, with clear intentions, can create healing for the Planet and all Beings. This PrayerPod will be left in nature to become one with the earth again. It is an invitation for the community to watch the incremental changes of the pods, and reminds the viewers how precious and how fragile life can be.
Location: Semi circle nook behind picnic tables to the left; on your way to the Sisters' Fields
Damini Celebre lives in the Philadelphia area. She is an artist and subtle energy healer. Her work explores our relationship with Nature — The Web of Life, through the metaphor of Landscapes; the internal landscape of Soul and the external landscape of Nature through a range of 2D works and site-specific installations.
Description: The ability of certain organisms to take root and grow in what may seem inhabitable places is amazing adaptation. Although we control where we pave, plant, and groom in our landscapes, there are uncontrollable factors present. The changing winds can carry seeds and spores from one area to another. An insect can spread different pollens from plant to plant. This cross pollination is beneficial for communities, increasing diversity and survival. A thriving microcosm maintains a balance and recycles its resources. This unfired clay microcosm has a finite lifespan, susceptible to the elements and outside interactions. It too will be recycled to bring new life into the world. The creek ties into my thoughts about the diversity and variety of life that we cannot see in the water but helps maintain a balance in our ecosystem. Also, the importance of water and movement it allows for carrying organisms. The academic courtyard is also of interest because it is a manicured man-made area that is maintained by humans versus sites near the Wissahickon Creek being a less controlled space. As humans, we build and pave over the ground, and I am curious about what organisms live beneath these constructions and how they benefit us.
Locations: Corner of the Academic Courtyard; Class of 1888 Bridge
Rachel Eng grew up exploring the deciduous forests of Rochester, NY, and her fascination with the natural world continues today. Drawing upon the ephemeral and immortal qualities of clay, her work considers aspects of the controlled and unpredictable in relation to our changing environment. Her work often employs repetitive patterns and the use of multiple elements to create complex visual and textural experiences. Eng received her B.F.A. from Pennsylvania State University and her M.F.A. from the University of Colorado at Boulder. In 2017, she was selected as a NCECA Emerging Artist and has participated in residencies and exhibited both in the United States as well as internationally, most recently the NES Residency in Iceland. She is currently an Assistant Professor at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA.
About Germantown Academy and Art Across the Academy
Germantown Academy is a non-sectarian, coeducational college preparatory school educating students from PreK to Grade 12. Founded in 1759, GA has over 250 years of history, tradition, and outstanding academics. The campus is located on 126 beautiful acres in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania. Six acres of campus is natural woodlands and wetlands adjacent to the Wissahickon Creek. Art Across the Academy is a program that celebrates the visual arts across Germantown Academy, inspiring art appreciation, perception and visual awareness in our daily lives.
Goals for Project
Art Across the Academy has established several artistic and community development goals for the Woods to Water project.
- Create site-specific, environmentally themed art installations, taking into account the location of the wetlands, woods, Wissahickon Creek and other natural areas on campus.
- Strengthen the community's awareness of scientific and historical connections within the natural environment through artistic representation.
- In support of the environment and sustainability, one of the important constraints of the project is to investigate how to use repurposed materials along with materials that degrade over time and work with nature.
All questions and media requests can be sent to:
Jessica Killo and Sara Ritz
Co-Directors, Art Across the Academy
Photos showcasing GA's natural spaces taken by Upper School Honors Photography Students: Caleb Johnson '19, Charlotte Dilello '21, and Jack Forde '19