Sculptures at The Morton Arboretum Honor the Connection Between Humans and Nature

Human+Nature by Daniel Popper at The Morton Arboretum

“Ginkgo”

South African artist Daniel Popper is expanding his collection of sculptures at The Morton Arboretum. His Human+Nature exhibition has been on display at the 1,700-acre arboretum since 2021 and will remain on view until 2023. Already his largest-ever exhibition when it opened, Popper has added three more sculptures, which brings the total works up to eight.

The three new sculptures are a continuation of Popper's goal to inspire awe as they connect people and trees. It's a noble proposition that follows The Morton Arboretum's work in helping trees thrive and in educating the public about their importance. And it's fitting that the sculptures should arrive in 2022, which is the arboretum's centennial. In fact, the smallest of Popper's three new sculptures was created to celebrate this special occasion.

That sculpture, titled Ginkgo, will live outside the visitor's center and is a beautiful greeting for guests. In the piece, the masklike face of a woman is framed by ginkgo leaves in a beautiful representation of the variety of trees that are found on the property. Given founder Jay Morton's fondness for this noble tree, it's only fitting that it should be used in the sculpture that celebrates the arboretum's longevity. Many ginkgo trees have been planted on the grounds and, currently, there are 15 cultivars and 77 specimens in the collection.

Popper's other works, Mycelia and Ephemera celebrate other fungi and plant life that guests can discover during their visit. In this way, he allows us to ruminate on the interconnectedness of the natural world and our role within it. Ephemera is located in a meadow, while Mycelia sprouts up in a secluded wooded area.  This positioning only enhances the meaning of the work, and creates a sense of a treasure hunt as one searches the grounds for Popper's work.

Popper's enhanced version of Human+Nature is just one of many reasons to visit The Morton Arboretum, which is located outside of Chicago. The eight pieces will remain on view until March 2023.

South African artist Daniel Popper has installed three new sculptures at The Morton Arboretum.

Daniel Popper Sculpture at the Morton Arboretum

“Ephemera”

Outdoor Sculpture at the Morton Arboretum

“Mycelia”

The sculptures are meant to provoke thought about the connection between humans and trees.

Human+Nature by Daniel Popper at The Morton Arboretum

“Ginkgo”

Outdoor Sculpture at the Morton Arboretum

“Mycelia”

Mycelia Sculpture at the Morton Arboretum by Daniel Popper

“Mycelia”

Ephemera Sculpture by Daniel Popper at The Morton Arboretum

“Ephemera”

They join five other sculptures at his Human+Nature exhibit, which runs until March 2023.

Human+Nature by Daniel Popper at The Morton ArboretumHuman+Nature by Daniel Popper at The Morton ArboretumHuman+Nature by Daniel Popper at The Morton ArboretumHuman+Nature by Daniel Popper at The Morton ArboretumHuman+Nature by Daniel Popper at The Morton Arboretum

Daniel Popper: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by the Morton Arboretum.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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