The Morton Arboretum Presents Steve Tobin Sculpture Exhibition

LISLE, IL – The Morton Arboretum, a world-renowned leader in tree science and education, is pleased to present a unique exhibition of massive Steelroots and other sculptures by Pennsylvania artist Steve Tobin. The show, which marks the Arboretum’s first display of fine art sculpture as well as the debut of Tobin’s current Steelroots series, will open as a four-season exhibition of 14 monumental sculptures on April 9, 2010.

Steve Tobin – Trinity Root

Tobin gained international acclaim in 2004 with the dramatic installation of the Trinity Root near Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan, the first and only art memorial near the 9/11 disaster site. The sculpture is a bronze casting of the stump and roots of the historic sycamore tree that saved St. Paul’s Chapel during the attack on the World Trade Center. The transcendent sculpture is permanently sited on the corner of Wall Street and Broadway, where millions of visitors see it each year.

Steelroots will be set amid the year round splendor of the Arboretum’s “outdoor galleries” in the 22-acre Conifer Collection, where the sights and scents from a vast collection of pine, juniper, fir, and spruce trees can evoke childhood memories of summer vacation in the woods or December’s holiday delights. The majestic evergreens create a stunning backdrop for Tobin’s sculptures, and the outdoor setting will easily allow parents to expose children to fine art in a relaxed environment.

Tobin’s work transforms the way people of all ages look at trees and nature. His soaring roots seem to burst forth from the earth where they can be seen, to connect visitors with the importance of trees in our environment as well as the metaphorical power of roots, and the questions that can be provoked about root form and function. The artist’s nature-based work resonates with the fine art world as well as the general public.

Tobin wants people to reconsider what they know about art and nature. Sometimes this process is much easier for children, who make fewer assumptions about the world than adults.

Visitors are invited to touch the sculptures, lie down beneath the massive art forms and appreciate their unique framing of the sky and clouds above, and stroll underneath and around the Steelroots, enjoying the changing effects of light and shadow. The pieces are amazing not just for their beauty, but how they change a visitor’s perspective of the surroundings, in this case, the majestic trees close to, and distant from, Tobin’s sculptures.

“I’d like people to think about the fact that roots may not often be visually apparent, but that’s where the tree’s strength is,” Tobin says.

Anamari Dorgan, Arboretum Manager of Interpretation and Exhibits, says Tobin’s works are “a natural fit with our efforts to inspire people to appreciate trees. The sculptures evoke awe and wonder about these crucial aspects of trees, the roots.

The Arboretum will also display two bronze Roots sculptures titled “Romeo and Juliet,” a bronze sculpture titled Forest Floor, two giant steel Pinecones, and sculptural works in clay from Tobin’s Exploded Earth series.

In addition to the Trinity Root in New York City, the artist’s work has been exhibited in a diverse array of venues: the Page Museum and Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the American Museum of Natural History in New York; in the caves at Rettreti Art Museum in Finland; and in numerous sculpture parks, fine art museums, and public sites around the world.

Tobin’s Steelroots are an evolution of his bronze Walking Roots, transforming the series from naturalist to modernist, inspired in part by Asian calligraphy. Even so, he leaves his works open for interpretation, hoping the pieces help people see the landscape “again for the first time.”

The Morton Arboretum is a world-renowned leader in tree science and education, working to save and plant trees. The 1,700-acre outdoor museum features magnificent collections of 4,117 kinds of trees, shrubs, and other plants from around the world. The Arboretum’s beautiful natural landscapes, gardens, research and education programs, and year-round family activities support its mission – the planting and conservation of trees and other plants for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world. Conveniently located at I-88 and Rte. 53 in Lisle, Illinois, the Arboretum is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, from 7 a.m. Central Time until sunset. The Children’s Garden is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., March through October, and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., November through February.