John Grade’s large sculpture created in situ on the Historic Grounds invites us to think differently about the water offered to us by the sky. His ecological and poetic process strikes the viewer’s imagination through the gracefulness of the pearls of water delicately imprisoned in their nets.
John Grade creates large scale sculptures that are exhibited in unusual urban contexts, museums, galleries and in the great outdoors. His projects are designed to evolve with time and often involve participation from large groups of people to build, install and move from one place to another. He creates artworks that have a connection with the environment, often inspired and extracted from microscopic viewpoints, ranging from monumental installations to more intimate affairs. His artworks are set up both indoors and outdoors.
Hanging in a clearing of a pine forest in the Park, Réservoir is made up of five thousand clear droplets, each one an individual heat-formed plastic part, and held by steam-moulded wood. The delicate droplets are attached to two translucent nets, supported by tree trunks. Rainwater or snow can then fill the little pouches and in doing so, the position and shape of the nets lowers and changes. When the collected water evaporates, the sculpture rises back to its initial structure. Springs below the pulleys on the installation limit the vertical range of movement, so that the sculpture is always at least 3 metres above the ground. Even very light rain is enough to trigger a visible movement downwards. Once the sculpture is dry, it weighs just over 30 kilograms. When it is full after heavy rainfall, the sculpture can exceed a weight of 350 kilograms.
Grade’s artistic methods focus on a combination of poetry and ecology in highly technical works that are often installed in the middle of nature, fulfilling the artist’s wish to imprint the grace of the work on his viewers’ minds so that it will live on in their memories.
Gathering rainwater, emphasising its importance and value, and highlighting the fragility of nature: such are the concerns of an artist who pays close attention to the elements, to the cycles and disasters that affect our planet.
John Grade was born in 1970 in Minneapolis. He graduated from the Pratt Institute in New York. Today, he lives and works in Seattle.
Inspired by geological changes, life forms and natural systems, he works with his team on sculpting monumental immersive sculptures that have been made especially for the places that house them.
His most recent projects are inspired by the mountains of Nevada, the forests in the highlands of Guatemala and the ever-changing landscapes above the Arctic Circle. His new series on natural disasters feature impressive installations based on forest fires, storms and earthquakes.