Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens
Shayne Dark (Canadian, born 1952) is known for using locally sourced and natural elements such as branches, limbs, roots, and tree trunks to create surreal and astounding sculptures. His work prizes nature as inspiration for his abstract and colorful forms.
Situating Dark’s monumental works in and around the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens’ Lord & Burnham–designed conservatory, itself nestled within a landscape originally crafted by Frederick Law Olmsted, provided a remarkable opportunity to harness the Gardens’ existing natural drama. Dark’s striking use of bold color is meant to complement and enhance the organic surroundings, bringing art and nature together in a magnificent and harmonious display.
Just as a flowering blossom grabs our attention, Dark’s work in and around the Botanical Gardens acted as a visual component that drew awareness towards points of beauty and creation. And like a blooming flower, Dark’s work integrated into a larger ecosystem of intricate design, operating to enhance the inherent beauty that surrounds us every day.
In conjunction with the exhibition, the AK Public Art Initiative hosted a residency for the artist at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens September 14–19. Dark was working in public view in the outdoor winter garden all week. Admission to the Botanical Gardens was free for AK Members on September 16. Dark gave a free Artist Talk on Thursday, September 17, 2015, at 7 pm.
Dark sourced local organic material to create a site-specific installation. In keeping with his practice, Dark focused on materials in the region that have fallen due to natural circumstances or as a result of the end of their life-cycle. These materials found new life in the hands of the artist. The residency offered direct insight into the artist’s creative practice and allowed visitors to see the evolution of the work from raw materials to finished installation.