A Wilderness Science and Art Collaboration

Aldo & Leonardo, a partnership between Colorado Art Ranch and the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, is a project to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. The project is inspired by the scientific wisdom of Aldo Leopold and the artistic genius of Leonardo da Vinci. Our endeavor is an interdisciplinary collaboration of artists and scientists designed to celebrate the lands, resources and opportunities protected by the Wilderness Act. In 2013, we are hosting one-month residencies in six diverse wilderness areas. Artists will work alongside wildland research scientists and gain firsthand knowledge of the wonders, complexities and challenges of our nation's wildest places. The result will be a body of work that creatively illustrates the value of wild areas and honors the scientific efforts to preserve wilderness for the next fifty years.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Site 16 and Site 5, A collaboration between Troy Nickle, Mark Jirsa, The Minnesota Geological Survey and the University of Minnesota

Photograph and artwork by Troy Nickle, geological notes by Mark Jirsa

Site 16
UTM = 62217/5325277  On Birch Lake, side of portage to Carp Lake.
Canada on shore to right (N), image on US side.
Mudstone and slate – here with strong slaty cleavage, pieces of cleaved rock
have been “jumbled” together at different orientations presumably by fault movement.

These are two of sixteen site specific works that were done in collaboration with Mark Jirsa of the Minnesota Geological Survey and the University of Minnesota. The work was initiated through a dialogue between Mark and I about how we could bridge geology with art. Through this project I accompanied Mark in canoe and on a 10km walk near our camp site on the South Arm of Knife lake in The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness of Minnesota to document and map a variety of ancient bedrock crusts throughout the area. The South Arm of Knife Lake was of interest to Mark because there had been a fire there a few years earlier. This meant that much of the moss and lichen that covered these rock outcrops had been burned off, allowing the rock to be easily mapped.

For each site we created a square section approximately 1 meter by 1 meter, to frame different geological events and rock formations with locally found materials like wood, reeds and stones. Each site corresponds to a Universal Transverse Mercator reading. As Mark was taking notes mapping the site I would create the frame in the landscape and document it with close up shots of the rock within the frame and an image of the frame in context to the land.

Site 5
Interlayered white weathered sandstone and mudstone, B = N 10 E / 80 W
T= W

Below is a map of the area and the sites that we mapped and documented.

I express my deep gratitude to The Colorado Art Ranch in collaboration with the Aldo Leopold Institute for allowing me to go on such a great adventure and Mark Jirsa for making coffee every morning, sharing his jolly rancher candy and for his enthusiasm and knowledge of geology.

No comments:

Post a Comment