Nature Comes to Life in Kinetic Sculpture Exhibition

“Corn Zone” by Michael Meilahn.

Thirty-two giant hand blown glass ears of corn sway alongside six spare, hand-driven stainless steel sculptures in the Peninsula School of Art’s (PSA) exhibition “Mechanics of Nature: Sculpture Moves to Life Rhythms.” The exhibit is free, open to the public, and will run Aug. 24 – Nov. 3.

Wisconsin artist Michael Meilahn and Anne Lilly of Massachusetts each exhibit kinetic sculpture to represent movement found in nature, but have differing styles and messages.

Meilahn, an Oshkosh grain farmer, uses art to present his views on the controversial use of genetic plant modification to enhance crop yield and produce plants resistant to pests and disease.

“Primordial Shift” was created especially for PSA’s exhibition. The installation of 4-foot-high bronze and glass ears of corn suspended from the gallery’s ceiling features a video projection that traces the history of agriculture and grain products. As the video is projected through the corn, it creates moving shadows on the gallery walls behind Meilahn’s work. The layers produce the effect of a cornfield swaying in the breeze.

Lilly’s work is engineered to reflect the gentle movements in nature. The former architect uses a metal lathe and milling machine to create sleek, tabletop sculptures representing more intimate experiences. Her sculptures capture subtle movements like a simple caress on a hand or petals rising and falling in unison on a stem. Her works are minimal and mesmerizing; the works display simple, poetic movements.

All the exhibit’s sculptures are displayed with the intention that gallery visitors will set them in motion. Even the hand blown glass ears of corn are to be enjoyed by all ages. Meilahn says breakage isn’t likely to occur unless the pieces are pushed extremely hard.

Peninsula School of Art and Guenzel Gallery, open 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Saturday, are located at 3900 County Highway F in Fish Creek. For more information call 920.868.3455 or email [email protected].