Soils, Seeds, and Sprouts: Tropical and Temperate
Sharon Bladholm's Soils, Seeds, and Sprouts: Tropical and Temperate is an invitation to a world of wonderment and discovery, a place where artmaking becomes a tool to share explorations of the intricacies of the natural world. Discover something as simple and profound as a seed and as delightful and surprising as an earth star. From deep within their unseen domain, closely observe the microorganisms that live beneath our feet. Reveal your inner bio- philia with fantastic and colorful plant forms. Gain a new awareness of the diverse ecosystems of the Midwest and the Amazon. These sculptures, paintings, and prints provide both a record and a reinvention of nature in this absorbing exhibit of science and beauty.
The catalog is printed in full color with over 65 images of artwork in diverse mediums such as ceramic, glass and bronze sculpturally and many works on paper such as monotypes and watercolors on antique ledger paper.
This beautiful art catalog is a full 56 pages and contains 4 exciting and informative essays, three by scientists and one by an arts curator about Sharon's work, creating a true fusion of art and science. Welcome to the Dance investigates seed rain, written by tropical ecologist Devon Graham. Another is related to natural seed banks and their importance in habitat restoration by ecological restoration practitioner Stephen Glass. Professor Liam Heneghan penned a third "Sharon Bladholm as Naturalist" and curator, Lisa Roberts wrote Called by Art to Act which closes the catalog.
About the Author
Sharonʼs work has been profoundly influenced by her participation as artist, on scientific expeditions to remote and biologically diverse ecosystems of the Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon on expeditions with the Field Museum, Conservation International and Andes to Amazon Biodiversity Program. She has long explored the interfaces of art, science, nature, conservation biodiversity in numerous series of artworks in diverse mediums including glass, bronze and ceramic, as well as works on paper.
Soils, Seeds and Sprouts : Tropical and Temperate" is a compelling, insightful solo exhibit that launched at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in 2017 interpreting and communicating natural history and science through the vehicle of art, contrasting local nature with Amazonian. One large scale installation, Earth Stars: Above and Below features numerous Earth Stars, a type of fungus that can open and close and is found all over the world. The second, a multitude of enlarged seeds for Seed Rain: Seed Bank that looks at the amazing diversity of seeds, dispersal methods and the importance of natural seed banks.
Concurrently she has run Opal Glass Studios since 1983 and continues to complete many important commissions and exhibits her art work in numerous galleries and museums. Sharon has created many temporary installations at plant conservatories and at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Bordeaux, France, as well as Suite Home Chicago, Amazon Rising for Shedd Aquarium, and a Cool Globe sponsored by the Chicago Botanical Garden that is still traveling the world. She has completed sculptural works in glass and bronze for the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Her permanent public art piece "Soil: Alive With Life", based on soil microorganisms, is installed at Openlands new 73 acre Lakeshore Preserve.
Sharon often teaches workshops, present lectures and is involved with residencies at both universities and colleges as well as in the Amazon. She was the first Artist in Residence in the Amazon with Project Amazonas, spending several weeks at their forest reserve near Iquitos, Peru. In 2020 she completed another residency in the Peruvian Amazon hosted by Grand Amazon Lodge near the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Regional Conservation Area. In 2022 she spent several weeks in the Ecuadorian Amazon at the remote Tiputini Biodiversity Station.
"Sharon's exhibit is a stunning and immersive experience that takes a deep dive into the many facets of nature and science, allowing a completely new perspective on things as common as a seed or as unknown as a tardigrade. Sharon is a gifted artist and citizen scientist who bridges the worlds of art and science in powerful ways." - Gerald W. Adelmann
"More than a reference to or a representation of what we see around us, nature herself seems to be embedded in Sharon's artistic process. It's as if the final image is something that has first manifested inside the artist by experience, and the result is well beyond just a pretty or evocative object. I sense that Sharon is present in the work and that it is purposeful." - Andrew Young