Trail Art by Bill Mitchell

installed Winter 2020

Bill Mitchell is an artist, landscape designer and woodworker from Lancaster, WI. His art is focused on site specific installations with natural materials in the landscape. To learn more about the artist and his work visit: billmitchellartist.com or Instagram: @billmitchellartist

'Funnel Vision' 

2020

Eastern red cedar, black locust

Each end of the funnel offers a different perspective, view and perception. See the wide view from the narrow end and the narrow view from the wide end. Acting as an aperture the scene is narrowed or broadened in relation to the perspective, view and perception. The funnel's ubiquitous form is used as a way to concentrate and transfer, in this case, visual information from both ends. In daily life, views are often controlled and perspectives managed.

 

Eastern red (Juniperus virginiana) cedar is an inspirational, yet often just tolerated tree. Employed in this piece for strength, availability, durability and familiarity. Partnered with black locust (Robinia psuedoacacia) native to eastern US yet considered invasive in this region, is strong and highly rot resistant for the connecting dowel pins.

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Photo credit: Bill Mitchell

'Funnel Vision' approximate location

'CRISPR'

2019 

Spruce, box elder, black locust

Contorted natural branching transforms into a double helix structure, referencing the gene editing technology CRISPR. The intersection of the natural and the manipulated deserves consideration for how humans interface with the environment and all the other species.

As we consider how technology enhances our lives, we should be asking where the balance lies as well. Careful thought should be given to our relationship with technology so as to not lose our humanity. It's become clear with Covid-19 that a small strand of RNA can deeply affect an entire species. What are the implications on other species of our altering the genetics of plants, animals and humans?

 

The work is temporary, made from natural materials and finish, it will return to the earth when the wood deteriorates and the piece collapses. Placed on a foundation stone at the location of a former bridge is a reminder of transition and impermanence.

 

The Norway spruce tree was removed for a construction project, the 38” diameter trunk had numerous twisted and contorted branches protruding, supporting the massive canopy. The branches have been in storage since 2008 until used to create this work, the trunk was sawed and dried, then used for furniture in the renovated home.

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Photo credit: Bill Mitchell

'CRISPR' approximate location