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New Discoveries At Mckee

A shark’s fin, a wizard’s compass, a guardian angel – you’ll be delighted by the many imaginative creations on show this month in Vero Beach’s botanical garden.

Great Blue Heron was designed by Cathy Ferrell of Vero Beach. She was formerly a sculptor-in-residence at Brookgreen Gardens on Pawley’s Island, S.C.

Great Blue Heron was designed by Cathy Ferrell of Vero Beach. She was formerly a sculptor-in-residence at Brookgreen Gardens on Pawley’s Island, S.C.

Visitors to McKee Botanical Garden lately might be startled to see a shark’s fin emerging from the water lilies of the main pond. There have been alligators there for sure, but a shark? Not to worry. This is just a sculpture called “Fear Itself” from the garden’s new show “Sculpting Nature,” a display of 30 large pieces depicting the relationship between art and nature.

The exhibit features shapes molded from aluminum, bronze and glass, and pieces designed to float in the ponds or simulate flying through the air. This diverse collection, created in a variety of mediums, captures key elements of the natural world and seems right at home in the garden. It showcases the talents of 18 independent artists from many parts of the country and as far away as Prague.

“Fear Itself” is the creation of Hannah Nelson-Teutsch of Prague and was inspired by the tiny canals of Kampa Park in that city. It is designed to depict the idea that the world around us is filled with dangers to be protected against. By installing one of the most common symbols of danger, the shark fin, in a situation so clearly unsuitable to the shark, pokes fun at our common tendency to see danger lurking around every corner, and allows us to consider the absurdity of the things we choose to imbue with the power of fear.

One of the prettiest pieces in the collection is an aluminum sculpture called “Blue Trees and Sky,” which resembles a graceful blue butterfly that has just come to rest on the base of a tree in the Royal Palm Grove. To the artist, the blending of the common structures of the landscape – the branches of trees, the flowing vibrations of water, the network of veins within a body, a lacy network of trees as a silhouette – fuses the positive and negative spaces in the surrounding landscape to create what is essentially a large drawing. The sculptor, Catherine Hoskinson, originally from Canada, now lives in Brooklyn, but spends a good deal of time in Accord, N.Y., surrounded by the forests which have become the source of the drawings which she transforms into sculptures.

Read the entire article in the March 2012 issue