Robert Anderson's Gardens of Kaleidoscopes
April 15-Sept. 25, 2017
Free with gate admission
If you think spring is festive with its bursting, colorful blooms, imagine what it's like seen through a kaleidoscope! Visitors to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum will have such a viewing opportunity, thanks to a new exhibit "Robert Anderson's Gardens of Kaleidoscopes."
The exhibit features 15 interactive garden kaleidoscope installations on the Arboretum's Dahlberg and Morgan terraces, as well as inside the Oswald Visitor Center.
The kaleidoscopes of varying heights allow everyone from children to adults to be able to enjoy them. Intricate prism designs create interactive, living sculptures. They are encased in bold, ingeniously designed sculptural metal frames and attached to container gardens planted by Arboretum staff. The kaleidoscope feature is activated by slowly turning the large bowl-shaped containers and thus, creating dramatic ever-changing flourishes of colors and shapes.
Anderson's artwork, which also includes free-standing steel sculptures, have been seen at botanic gardens, public parks and private residences around the United States, as well as Canada and Japan.
Robert hard at work in his studio in Door County, Wisc.
Door County metal artist Robert Anderson spent his early life on a farm in south-central Wisconsin. This exposure to nature and mechanics would create the foundation for his life's work - creating artwork that enhances the human-nature connection.
While working as a maintenance engineer at an industrial plant, he found his passion for steel, welding, and large-scale formats. Those skills soon translated into art as a full-time pursuit; and he began selling small-scale work at art shows across the country.
"My wife, Ann, collected kaleidoscopes.
That was my inspiration. And I thought it
would be interesting to place them with gardens."
These living sculptures give people the opportunity to see things from a new perspective as they look at kaleidoscopic images created by a combination of mirrors and lens(es) trained on a rotating bowl of flowering plants. The sculptures provide an opportunity for people to interact with the art and each other, and these connections provided the inspiration for Robert's life as a professional artist.
"They will be at different heights for different
people, so that everyone from children
to adults will be able to enjoy them."
Robert and his wife reside amidst the countryside of Door County, Wisconsin. He continues to create kaleidoscopes and other large-scale artwork, including inflated steel pieces and metal sculptures.
Robert's award-winning work have been found in hospitals, botanical gardens, libraries, children's museums and private collections across the United States and in Canada and Japan.