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Published April 22, 2024

Our Monthly Team Selections: April 2024

By Team Testudo

Today we’re marking Earth Day with reverence and reflection through art.

This month the Testudo team has chosen 5 pieces from our collection considering the themes of climate and conservation. From the magic of reclaimed materials to poetic tributes to our natural world, these artworks evoke the beauty and urgency of our planet’s story. Each work invites us to connect deeper with our environment and ponder our relationship with nature.

Join us in honoring Earth’s diversity and resilience through the lens of art. Read more about each team member’s selection below, along with work descriptions from our artists.

Courtney Puckett, The Gardener

Courtney Puckett, the Gardener, 2019, Found objects, repurposed textiles, paint, plaster, wood, dirt, 54" x 40" x 23"

"As someone who has always been interested in bricolage, the way Courtney utilizes found materials in her sculptures is compelling to me. Not only is each one of her sculptures a creation of chance, born of repurposed textiles and relics left to waste, but Courtney's imaginative approach creates entire worlds in a single work. 'The Gardener' presents the magic of the natural world with incredible presence through its scale and dramatic form."

—Petra Bibeau, Growth

"Tend to the earth. See what grows."

—Courtney Puckett

Travis Morehead, Holding Pattern (Adirondack Chair)

Travis Morehead, Holding Pattern (Adirondack Chair), 2022, Found adirondack chair, 32" x 26" x 35"

"Last fall, I was able to visit Travis's studio in Chicago and welcomed the opportunity to sit with the shavings as Travis breathed new life into discarded wood objects. Transforming a utilitarian object into a delicate, organic form simultaneously subverts and celebrates the oftentimes masculine tradition of woodworking and carpentry."

—Kirby Voigtman, Co-Founder

"All the works in this series of whittled objects present their own particular considerations in relation to process — by extension of their respective material, formal and contextual specificity. At the same time, I’ve also noticed certain developments that transcend individual works, by nature of returning to the same process again and again. Over time, these objects have become increasingly delicate through better awareness, with each iteration, of a given structure’s threshold of collapse. The Adirondack chair is a more recent illustration of this trajectory in practice."

—Travis Morehead

Lara Saget, Hanging on by a Thread

Lara Saget, Hanging On by a Thread, 2021, Glass-cast piece of fallen tree held together by fallen pieces of the tree in front of New York Presbyterian-Lower Manhattan Hospital, 3" x 26" x 11"

"Lara Saget’s work Hanging On by a Thread reveals her intimate relationship with natural materials and the potential healing power of human intervention with the world around us. As someone who also has an art practice and has worked in plant care, I’m reminded of the overlap between what it means to treat objects and materials with the same amount of respect we treat living beings as well as the ways we honor the fragility of life."

—Connor McNicholas, Artist Outreach

"This work is made of glass cast fallen trees held together by fallen pieces of the tree in front of New York Presbyterian-Lower Manhattan Hospital. This work was made for a project entitled The Breathing Project that I curated for Cities of Peace, a global peacebuilding initiative that uses artwork as an agent for change.

The Breathing Project honors healthcare and essential workers who have risked their lives to help others. This work was made to honor an essential worker who worked at New York Presbyterian-Lower Manhattan Hospital. It is coupled with her story here."

—Lara Saget

Audrey Bialke, Sampson's Lion and a Hunter's Moon

Audrey Bialke, Sampson's Lion and a Hunter's Moon, 2023, Oil, ink, paper on cradled panel 11" x 14"

"After witnessing this month's total solar eclipse, the image of the moon's shadow has been etched in my mind's eye. Audrey Bialke's "Sampson's Lion and a Hunter's Moon" so beautifully captures the tension and shifting colors of a cloudy night sky. Framed by a set of curious creatures, botanical imagery, and decorative borders, the painting invites us to reflect on the mysteries of the cosmos–all we have to do is gaze upward."

—Kate Parvenski, Content

"This lion is based off of Aquamanile in the Form of Sampson and the Lion, which is a Northern European vessel ca. 1380–1400. While no longer confronting a physical opponent on his back as in the original sculpture, the lion roars into a cold October moonlit sky. The plant and lizard are from the Voynich Manuscript, fol. 46r and fol. 73r respectively. A red eft like creature delicately keeps fire aloft above his back. This piece conveys the tenuousness of season change, and references the acute pain of interpersonal conflict."

—Audrey Bialke

William Matheson, An Ending

William Matheson, An Ending, 2020. Oil on canvas, 36" x 54".

"William Matheson talked about making this painting during the peak of the pandemic in 2020. The depiction of an open highway reminds me of one of my own pandemic memories: driving to Michigan to visit my parents. During the drive, I witnessed the wide open roads through Pennsylvania that I wouldn't experience normally in my airline travels to Michigan. The harshness of the yellow outside the vehicle makes visible the feelings of anxiety we all felt at that time."

—John Dennehy, Co-Founder

"A painting from peak pandemic- summer of 2020. An Ending is part of an informal series of harsh/simple paintings that were unified by stringent chemical yellows and reds. Looking back on works from this time I think they were definitely responding to the anxiety and uncertainty of the moment."

—William Matheson


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