Inspired by Nature is a series of multi-panel artworks I was commissioned by the Utah Public Art Program to create for The University of Utah’s Noorda School of Oral Health. When creating this series I took into account the experiences of the faculty, staff, students, patients and visitors to the school by incorporating the beautiful setting with a community that values education.
Representing Utah Landscape
The artworks derive inspiration from the natural landscape elements of Utah, including mountains, aspen trees, and open sky.
The artworks illustrate a variety of aspen trees throughout different settings and seasons. Mountains are included in some artworks, and all artworks are mounted with acrylic glass to represent the open sky.
Representing the Essence of the Programs and Academic Pursuits
Consistent with the building’s focus on improving individual health, the artwork is infused with the concept of a healing essence. Nature is a subject analogous to health and human life. As with human life, all elements of nature are unique. No two leaves, trees, snowflakes, or other natural elements are exactly alike. These artworks employ the notion of exceptional nature as a mirror of exceptional human nature, utilizing nature as a catalyst to explore concepts of life and health.
Inspired by Nature draws on scenes of nature to invoke sensations of wellness, peace, and calm. Trees are peaceful symbols of life that illustrate growth as well as the passage of time. They take on the appearance of decay in the winter, only to sprout anew with the return of spring. In this way, these artworks are inspirational symbols of health and healing.
Community is defined as “a unified body of individuals”. I use multiple-panels to illustrate community and the interconnectedness of life on our planet, providing a metaphor for our common, evolutionary ancestry. While each panel is able to stand alone as a piece of art, together the panels comprise a full and harmonious scene. Viewed as a whole, the artworks offer greater variety, intricacy, and depth, each panel flowing smoothly into the next. Experiencing or viewing scenes of nature engenders a sense of interconnectedness or oneness with the natural world and a simple appreciation for the beauty of nature.
Inspired by Nature: Harmony Mountains
40" x 180" (3 40" x 60" panels)
This piece illustrates an aspen tree rooted in the right panel with branches extending into the middle and left panels, and a mountain range crossing all three panels. Because the doorway makes a visual break in the panels, it was created with the two left-side panels able to stand alone as a branch above the mountain range, and the one right-side panel able to stand alone as a tree above the mountain range. However, when viewed closely, it is shown that the branch from the left panels comes directly from the branch in the right panel. The concept of harmony is reflected in the name Harmony Mountains, which is also the name of a beautiful Utah mountain range.
Inspired by Nature: Seasons
40" x 240" (4 40" x 60" panels)
This piece illustrates one aspen branch extending through all four panels. In each panel the aspen tree is exhibiting a different season. Viewed from right to left, illustrated is: spring with blossoms; summer with full foliage; fall with a few withered leaves; winter with bare branches. Harmony is shown by the branch that connects each panel as well as the color scheme. Diversity is shown in the different feel each panel exudes with the different season shown.
Inspired by Nature: Pando
60" x 38" (3 60" x 114" panels)
This piece was created to represent community, illustrated by an aspen grove modeled after the Pando grove in Utah. Biologists state that Pando is over 80,000 years old and is the largest organism ever found, as an aspen grove is actually a single living organism. While individual aspens live about 100 years, a grove can reach several thousand years in age, a symbol of the strength found in community. This piece includes a mountain range spanning the bottom of all three panels.
Inspired by Nature: Pando View
40" x 180" (3 40" x 60" panels)
This piece illustrates a single aspen branch extending through each panel. It was created to illustrate a close-up detail of “Inspired by Nature: Pando.” These pieces are located on opposing walls of the same floor. Harmony is shown in the aspen leaves and color scheme. Variety is shown in the more distant view of “Inspired by Nature: Pando” compared to the detail view of “Inspired by Nature: Pando View.”