Nature's Hand

Nature's Hand

Mother Nature isn't a lady to be messed with. New York City knows that—especially after the subzero temperatures (and frozen pipes and hair follicles) endured during last week's polar vortex. But, if you take a step back, her might is a force to be marveled at. Artist Giuseppe Penone's (b. 1947) public art display, currently on view at Madison Square Park thru Feb. 9, makes sure we don't forget nature's brutal majesty. 

His Ideas of Stone (Idee di pietra), three enormous 30-foot-tall bronze organic-shaped structures, evokes the natural enviornment literally: The sculptures themselves appear to be trees stripped of all leaves, the titanic flora of some black apocalypse. At first glance they are gray and lifeless, but they're imbued with a magical strength. Like hurculean arms, the trees appear to lift and prepare to toss enormous boulders. Destruction comes immediately to mind (a very real and unfortunate hobby of Mother Nature herself). The artist forces the viewer to consider man's relationship with nature—and it's a very unbalanced one. 

Just as the viewer is dwarfed by these monolithic trees and the boulders they wield, we all are dwarfed by nature. Left to the elements, we hairless monkeys wouldn't stand a chance. Perhaps I'm being morbid, don't mind me—I'm just caught up in Ideas of Stone.


>>Ideas of Stone (Idee di pietra), Giuseppe Penone, Madison Square Park, E. 23rd St. & Broadway, thru Feb. 9 


Photos: Malcolm Varon, NYC. Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York.