Art on View: Seen/Unseen Outdoor Sculpture

Sculpture consisting of a tree stump, a large constructed nest sitting on top, and a pile of sticks next to it, sitting within a leafy garden bed amid live trees.

Refugial Habitat in Miniature, sculpture by Meg Wilson

The Arboretum is hosting an exhibition in Longenecker Horticultural Gardens featuring sculptures by UW Art Department graduate students. Seen/Unseen is a collection of large-scale, site-specific installations highlighting natural ephemera that are often overlooked. Each work is created to inspire dialogue between sculpture and site, inviting viewers to examine their environment and the forces at play more closely. Together, these sculptures suggest a thoughtful, symbiotic approach to human interaction with the natural world.

To experience Seen/Unseen, visit the middle of Longenecker Horticultural Gardens near the maple and horse chestnut collections. The exhibition will be on view until early November (weather dependent).

The public is welcome to get close, gently interact, and respectfully touch. Please do not move, roughly handle, or sit, stand, or climb on any of the artwork.

Sculptures on View

Meg Wilson, MFA Candidate
Refugial Habitat in Miniature, 2023
Waste sticks, waste stump, waste construction materials, willow

This refugium in miniature – assembled pieces collected from yard-waste refuse piles and wands from coppiced willow – gestures to a queered concept of waste as possibility and waste assemblages as sites of survivance in present socio-environmental-political scenes.

A tall three-legged pyramid structure with a platform anchored by the legs. The platform holds sand and a rope dangling from the pyramid peak holds a stick that moves across the sand when the wind blows.
Wind Drawing Device, sculpture by Carolyn Spears with Matthew Little

Carolyn Spears, MFA Candidate
Matthew Little

Wind Drawing Device, 2023
Wood, canvas, sand, string, stick

This sculpture collaborates with nature to create one-of-a-kind drawings, highlighting the ways our environment is constantly moving and changing all around us. Viewers are invited to gently interact with this artwork by using their hands to smooth the sand for a fresh drawing or to give the stylus encouragement on a non-windy day.

A grid of mirrors mounted at different angles on metal posts reflect trees and sky.
Sky Meadow, sculpture by Paulina King

Paulina King, MFA Candidate
Sky Meadow, 2023
Mirror, rebar, wood

Sky Meadow is composed of mirrors floating on metal frames, each offering a unique view of the surrounding environment. Its composition will change with the seasons, encouraging exploration, discovery, and a return to the childlike wonder instilled by the natural world.