LAND & SEA ART
Aspen artist Celia Gregory fuses her love of nature with community.
When designing the Aspen Institute during the mid 1950s, Herbert Bayer honored the Bauhaus philosophy of merging design and the living world in one holistic creation. But it is Bayer’s earthen works, “Earth Mound” (or “Grass Mound”) and “Marble Garden,” created a decade ahead of the land art movement of the mid 1960s, which harmoniously integrate sculpture and the environment in an area on the institute’s campus known as the meadow.
“I feel that the meadow was a pioneer in the mind, body and spirit movement,” says artist Celia Gregory, who has partnered with the Art Base in Basalt to create the Roaring Fork Art for Nature program, which draws on Bayer’s philosophy.
Gregory believes that through creativity the local community can be engaged to conceptualize and develop sustainable solutions to environmental issues. As founder of the innovative Living Sculptures in the Sea project, she’s familiar with the idea. Her seabased sculptures are coral gardens and sh habitats, often that use recycled materials, and are installed in locations from Indonesia to Mexico. Gregory and other artists with the Marine Foundation work with diverse local communities, developers, resorts and environmental organizations to create these projects.
Since relocating to Aspen, Gregory has been inspired to create new eco-friendly works. She has even conceptualized a local marble sculpture that will take Colorado rock—which was once under ancient seas—and return it to the water o the coast of Mexico as a new coral reef.
“The innate creativity of our planet keeps me inspired,” Gregory says. Living in the Roaring Fork Valley, she sees things in new ways and with more detail. Her rst piece in the three-year Art for Nature program will be a heart-shaped ower sculpture inspired by Andy Goldsworthy. Set outside the Art Base and entitled “We Love Pollinators,” it provides a habitat for bees, hummingbirds and butter ies. Several workshops will be held in June as part of the program.
For Gregory, it’s about feeling, emotion and the integration of mind, body and spirit. The works are playful, rather than intensely cerebral or purely aesthetic. She’s not an activist trying to change people with facts and gures. She’s an artist hoping to inspire beautiful solutions while having a little bit of fun too. Art for Nature workshop, June 10, 12:30-4:30PM, tickets $60 for members, $75 for nonmembers; We Love Pollinators workshop, Aug. 7-11, 9:30-3:30PM, tickets $250 for members, $300 for nonmembers; 99 Midland Spur, Basalt, 970.927.4123, theartbase.org
Take a walk through scrub sage land or a wild flower garden dedicated to Elizabeth Paepcke, wife of the Aspen Institute’s founding father, Walter Paepcke; or immerse yourself in a Land Art tour, where the nature and the work of art are inextricably linked. Landscape architect and Aspen City Councilwoman Ann Mullins leads tours of the land art on the Aspen Institute campus, where she provides historical context and interpretation of the Herbert Bayer works. Tours will also explore new installations like Andy Goldsworthy’s “Stone River.” Mullins’ info-packed tour, slated for June 15 & 22, July 13, Aug. 3 & 24, & Sept. 7, offers such tidbits as how Goldsworthy’s stones for the in- situ work were gathered from all over the world and in alignment with the Bauhaus ethos of integration. “In its pure form, sculptures are not placed in the landscape; rather, the landscape is the means of their creation,” says Celia Gregory, who is known for her eco-conscious underwater art and is the driving force behind Basalt’s new Art for Nature program. Visitors can also find eco- art at Aspen’s John Denver Sanctuary. 1000 N. Third St., aspeninstitute.org/series/art-tours –Hilary Stunda