Into the wild

Arts / Article

“Drawn From the Everglades”

Most of us remember a time when we were young, when a dense spot of vegetation tempted you to climb into it, explore it. It may have been a field of corn, a mossy mound in a park, a thicket of a forest, a hammock, a mangrove swamp.

A great installation at Locust Projects (a Knight Arts grantee) evokes that time, and memory. Two New York-based artists, Wade Kavanaugh and Stephen B. Nguyen, have built a green, paper maze titled “Drawn From the Everglades.” This thing sprawls across the entire main space, with tendrils and roots hanging from the bottom, and layers and layers of green sheets on top. Funny that a material like that can look so pungent, fecund even.

On opening night last Saturday, as people moved around the sculpture, almost everyone expressed a desire to dive into it, crawl around under it, get lost in a childhood when all we had was time to make such natural explorations.

The artistic duo, who have worked together since 2005, actually call this a three-dimensional drawing, inspired by their impressions of the Everglades. They were recent residents of the AIRIE (Artists in Residence in Everglades) program, where the Brooklyn artists were submerged in the swamp, sawgrass and storm clouds of the River of Grass for a month. Observing collaborative efforts is always interesting: Are we seeing one vision or two? In this case, it is explained that the final result is a “conflation of the two artists’ perception of the same phenomena.” But however they came to it, this hyper-physical piece demands your attention and draws out  some perhaps-latent desires to just jump around in a field of green and innocence.

“Drawn From the Everglades” runs through April 26 at Locust Projects, 3825 N. Miami Ave., Miami;