Adkins Celebrates Environmental Art


A 400-acre preserve and native garden at the source of the Tuckahoe Creek, Adkins Arboretum is a perfect entrance into nature. Here, birdwatchers come to search, hikers to trek, and families to explore.  And now, artists come to Adkins to create.

A reception held at the arboretum on Saturday, June 25 celebrated the works of Leslie Berns and Howard and Mary McCoy.

With the exception of one outdoor piece, “…a Seed that May One Day Come to Flower,” Ms. Berns’ work is on display in the Visitor’s Center gallery. A mixed media exhibit entitled Quilting the Waterway this body draws attention to human interactions with water and its role in sustaining life.

In it, Ms. Berns references traditionally female textile-making in order to draw allusions to care giving.  As she writes in her Artist’s Statement, “I use this reference as a ‘conceptual overlay’ for creating works of art in public open space and to raise ideas about community and connectivity between people and places.”

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Howard and Mary McCoy’s environmental sculpture exhibit, Second Sitings, is currently on display within the arboretum’s woodland. Made up of materials found in the forest (with the lone exception of a few pieces of wire), it is the product of three months’ work.

In Second Sitings, the McCoys use vines, logs and open forest floor to create sculptures that become a part of their environment. One piece, “Swing” is made of invasive Japanese honeysuckle pulled from two nearby pines. As the pieces of vine intertwine with one another to form a downward loop, the McCoys note that it is both a drawing in space and a tree-saver.

Another work, “Fallen Up,” which recently fell down during a storm, has become the home of a black snake the artists have named Steve. Its branches suspended against a grounded birch make it an excellent place for Steve to bask, sleep and twist. Said Mary McCoy during Saturday’s artist-led sculpture walk, “It’s the perfect shed machine—we should re-title it!”

If you’d like to pay a visit to either exhibit, simply stop by Adkins Arboretum between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. It’s open daily. Quilting the Waterway is on display through July 29th, and Second Sitings through September 15. The Arboretum’s art series, Art in Nature, is supported in part by the Caroline County Council of Arts.


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