‘Forest of Dreams’ now open to explore

Patrick Jacobs' Lord of the Fungi is one of the works of art on view at the Forest of Dreams exhibition at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. Courtesy photo.

A new exhibition at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park features works by 15 celebrated artists from around the world. The one thing all of the exhibits have in common? Trees. 

Forest of Dreams: Contemporary Tree Sculpture explores the multifaceted associations and dimensions of trees—from metaphorical and ecological to the mythological and personal– and delves deep into the intricate realm of trees, inviting guests to reevaluate their relationship with nature and the living world around them.

“We are excited to present this lavish exhibition that celebrates the grandeur and value of trees,” said Suzanne Ramljak, Chief Curator at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. “While trees are essential to our lives, we tend to overlook them due to their familiarity and ubiquity. The rich and surreal sculpture in Forest of Dreams helps open our eyes to these marvelous organisms.”

Throughout the duration of the exhibition, which runs through Feb. 25, 2024, visitors will have the pleasure of viewing the works of Emilie Brzezinski, Louise Bourgeois, Nick Cave, Kim Cridler, Tom Czarnopys, Michele Oka Doner, Peter Frie, Hugh Hayden, Jim Hodges, Patrick Jacobs, Maya Lin, Robert Lobe, Roxy Paine, Rona Pondick, and Ai Weiwei.

Meijer Gardens will also showcase its permanent collection of tree-themed works by artists such as David Nash, Giuseppe Penone, Ai Weiwei, and Laura Ford who have contributed botanical creations that meld with the natural beauty of the park.

The exhibition is also accompanied by a number of programs centered around this arboreal sculpture celebration. On Wednesday, Oct. 25, Amber Oudsema, Curator of Arts Education at Meijer Gardens and Adjunct Professor of Art History at Grand Valley State University strolled the sculpture park with a group to discover a trove of sculptures resembling and inspired by trees, discussing tree symbolism. 

Suzanne Eberle, PhD, Professor Emerita, Kendall College of Art and Design will lead “Trees as Artistic Metaphor: Identity, Body, Fashion” Sunday, Nov. 12, at 2 p.m. This program aims to survey the ways trees have been depicted throughout the history of fashion and art as metaphorical stand-ins for humans in various guises, and explores how artists have chosen to sympathize and identify with trees.

On Friday, Dec. 1, “Forest of Dreams” exhibition curator Suzanne Ramljak explores the rich associations of the chosen work by 15 artists and traces the thematic connections within the sculpture galleries and their larger cultural, historical, and environmental ties. The program begins at 1 p.m.

Unless otherwise noted, programs are included in the cost of admission and registration is not required. A full list of exhibition activities can be found here.




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