Art project turns trash into art in downtown Rochester – Reuters
ROCHESTER – At first glance, the sculpture field outside the Rochester Art Center looks like something natural.
Closer inspection reveals that the shapes above the hundreds of wooden pins are actually trash – plastic and foam mined from the Mississippi River.
Even so, each piece was shaped by nature as the wear and tear in a natural setting was inflicted on them before being pulled from the water by artist Presley Martin.
The work is the latest and largest installation in Martin’s ongoing project “98% Air”.
So far, Martin has collected and incorporated over 9,000 pieces of moss from the river into the artwork.
Martin is also assembling trail markers with some of the debris he picked up from the river bank. The markers look like a pile of rocks. Some are exhibited inside the art center.
It is fitting that the installation overlooks the Zumbro River on the west side of the Rochester Art Center. This water is tied to the Mississippi to the east.
He came to Rochester via Franconia Sculpture Garden’s inaugural 4Ground Biennial project.
One of the goals of the project is to raise the profile of arts organizations, artists and environmental organizations. Franconia also appealed to indigenous and indigenous peoples’ advocacy groups and worked to include artists from these communities.
“We really want people to go places they don’t normally go and learn about the history of the people and the land,” said Ginger Porcella, executive director and chief curator of Franconia Sculpture Garden.
Most of the 4Ground facilities are outdoors and many are at the water’s edge, which Porcella says is part of the appeal of the project.
“It’s just about getting people to think about the impact people have on the earth and to think about what they can do,” she said.
The outdoor installation in Rochester is one of 17 currently on display as part of the 4Ground project. Most are in Minnesota with a few in North Dakota and Wisconsin. A full map can be viewed on the 4Ground website,
Most of the sculptures and art installations will be in place from June to August, Porcella said.
“Most of them are meant to be ephemeral in nature,” she said.
Porcella has also personally visited each of them so far, she added.
She said she enjoyed the “98% Air” piece and its resemblance to something found in nature.
“It’s great to see it moving in the breeze,” she said.
“It’s a lot of time on the road, but it’s my baby and I kind of did this to myself,” she said.
Planning for the next project has already begun with the addition of more sites in Wisconsin and the addition of at least one in South Dakota.
The 4Ground project will likely be ongoing, but given the time and logistics involved in setting up art installations with various organizations in the Upper Midwest, it will be held every two years.
Those interested in Martin’s work can hear about it directly from the artist. He will be at the art center to give
Sunday June 26, 2022.
What: Interview with the artist Presley Martin
When: 11:30 a.m., June 26, 2022.
Where: Rochester Art Center, 30 Civic Center Drive.
How much: Free