Explore and Discover with Landmark Exhibit
- On October 20, 2021
by Louis Trujillo
Landmark Exhibit is an outdoor arts experience that showcases works by 23 artists across 19 public parks located in Lakewood and Arvada, Colorado. I visited the Lakewood exhibition that features works by 10 of the artists including curators Anna Kaye and Kalliopi Monoyios along with Nicole Banowetz, Scottie Burgess, Tobias Fike, Tiffany Matheson, Jason Mehl, Jaime Molina, Mia Mulvey and Eileen Roscina. My hope was to see all 10 of the artist’s works in one trip; however, I soon realized that I would have to make another trip to view it in its entirety.
I started my trek at Belmar Park to view installations by Anna Kaye and Kalliopi Monoyios. On the website for the exhibition, there is a map showing general locations for the works. This map is a bit vague which turned out to make the exhibition much more of an adventure as I sought to find each of the works. My plan was to start with Monoyios’ installation but to no avail. Kaye’s work seemed like it would be easier to find as it sat between two bodies of water on the map and so I made my way around Kountze Lake.
I was immediately transported into an incredible wilderness teeming with grasslands, native plants, and waterfowl. It was exciting to discover Anna Kaye’s “Preserve” next to a pond full of quacking ducks. For the exhibition, she created miniature landscapes inside of burnt hollow logs that she salvaged from a fire-ravaged forest along with translucent birds perched on trees. In her works, it was exciting to find birds, butterflies, and other critters among trees and shrubbery. In the audio tour, Anna states, “These hidden thriving landscapes explore how we preserve the land and attempt to contain the increasing intensity of natural disasters due to climate change.”
Next, it was time for a second attempt at finding “Knot” by Kalliopi Monoyios. After a few failed attempts I examined the photo of the work on the guided tour website and used the barn and apartment buildings pictured in the background to discover the work. Monoyios used recycled plastic to create the installation. It is interesting to see the work months after it was installed because there is great contrast between seeing it during my visit in comparison to the photograph posted on their website; the plastic has bleached from the harsh sun rays and the surrounding foliage has grown within the negative spaces of the work. In a post on Instagram Kalliopi writes, “The vast majority of plastics don’t biodegrade; they are broken down by UV light into smaller and smaller pieces of themselves. Microplastics make it into waterways and are light and small enough to enter the food chain. They’re so small and light that they can be airborne and travel like dust or pollen.”
I didn’t have any trouble finding “Shelter” by Eileen Roscina at Kendrick Lake Park, my next stop in the exhibition. Woven willow branches create a human-like figure that stands around 8 feet tall with a backdrop of trees and the lake. In the audio tour, Roscina explains, “An important part of my process is being out in nature and harvesting my own willow out on the river banks. Constructing these pieces one stick at a time requires no added support or skeleton. For many of us, this past year the idea of our home and shelter as being our safe zone has never been more poignant—and yet at times, the confinement can feel like a cage. And what about those who have no stable shelter to rely on?”
Next in the exhibition, I found myself at Bear Creek Greenbelt Park and after a short walk came across “Caught” by Tiffany Matheson. Small fish sculptures that look ghostly are trapped in a net that hangs from the bottom of a bridge. In the guided tour Matheson reveals a distressing revelation, “It is estimated that over 700,000 tons of nets become ghost nets each year…floating through the lifespan of plastic which can be anywhere from a few hundred to a million years indefinitely catching wildlife and damaging marine habitats such as coral reefs and kelp forests.”
I crossed the bridge in search of the next work following Bear Creek on its south path. After traveling a great distance I began to wonder if I had gone the wrong way but I knew that eventually I would make it to S Wadsworth Blvd and could make a u-turn at that point. I came up to “Respire” by Nicole Anona Banowetz but I was on the wrong side of the river to view it in its entirety. I kept on, came across a bridge, and made my way back.
A log wrapped in black fabric with white images of diatoms seems to have floated down the creek and landed at its bank. In the guided tour Banowetz states, “Diatomes have been around since the Jurassic period. They produce 25% of the air we breathe through photosynthesis (and) are an important environmental alert system and are useful for assessing and monitoring conditions of freshwaters and the effects of climate change.” Visit Landmark Exhibit’s Instagram page to view “respire” through the seasons including when it was partially submerged after the river flooded from a large rainstorm.
There was one final piece to discover and thankfully I took the more scenic route next to the river rather than the paved route or I might have missed this one. Hidden in a clearing surrounded by an enormous fallen tree and lots of brush I found “Sunlaps” by Jaime Molina. The figurative sculpture stands around 7 feet tall and is made using a variety of upcycled media including tire rubber, nails, wood, glass mosaic, and more. In the audio tour we find out, ”Molina is known for creating art with narratives that loosely play on our existence and that sometimes portray characters based on his family and friends.”