Artist Jean Shin responds to an ongoing revitalization project along Storm King’s historic Maple Allée, working with salvaged maple trees to create a monumental, communal picnic table, approximately fifty feet in length.
She will also tap trees for sap and make maple syrup, which will be offered at tastings throughout the season. The exhibition marks the seventh iteration of Storm King’s ongoing Outlooks exhibition series, which invites an emerging or mid-career artist to create a new, site-specific work to be installed on-site for a single season. Outlooks: Jean Shin is organized by Storm King’s Senior Curator Nora Lawrence.
Storm King has a long history of environmental stewardship and continues to invest in initiatives that support biodiversity and increase resiliency throughout its site. This year, as part of this broader ecological program, 24 maple trees will be replaced with black gum (Nyssa sylvatica) trees, which are better suited to withstand Storm King’s changing climate and ground conditions.
Titled Allée Gathering, Shin’s project is a tribute to the Art Center’s beloved Maple Allée and will offer a new, communal place for visitors to come together in conversation to observe and reflect upon the changing landscape. The new black gum trees will be planted along the Allée, replacing the maple trees. The original maple tree stumps will remain in place for the duration of the exhibition, visually marking the landscape’s transition.
The project will connect the individual maple trees along the Allée into a continuous, horizontal tabletop surface with accompanying benches. Shin will construct the work using slabs of timber created from the remains of each tree trunk, which will expose the trees’ inner cores while revealing—and rendering aesthetic—any signs of damage. Transformed and presented in this horizontal orientation, the trunks of these maple trees will be painstakingly preserved into a site-specific work commemorating the transformed Allée and its history. At the same time, Allée Gathering brings attention to the landscape, to the constant changes that often go unnoticed, and to the challenging, labor-intensive work required to protect our natural environments.all images © the gallery and the artist(s)