Middle Fork

John Grade

Exhibition Schedule

MadArt Studio (Seattle, WA)
January 25 – May 8, 2015

The Smithsonian American Art Museum
Renwick Gallery (Washington, DC)
November 13, 2015 – May 13, 2016

The World Economic Forum (Davos, Switzerland)
January 17 – 20, 2017

The Seattle Art Museum – Brotman Forum
(Seattle, WA)
February 10, 2017 – present

For its inaugural exhibition, MadArt Studio welcomed Middle Fork, a massive wooden sculpture by local artist John Grade. After spending several weeks on-site in the woods of North Bend, John transported plaster molds of a live 140-year-old hemlock tree into the studio for further transformation. With the help of his team and hundreds of community volunteers, Grade used the casts as a base to build the intricate wood structure made from salvaged old-growth cedar and bonded with waterproof glue.

Once the smaller pieces were in place and refined, the interior supporting plaster was removed, leaving a hollow structure. The sculpture was eventually oriented horizontally and suspended from the ceiling so that the center of the trunk was at eye level. Limbs radiated outward toward the floor, walls, and ceiling, allowing visitors to view a familiar organic form from new perspectives.

After exhibiting at MadArt Studio, Middle Fork traveled to art fairs and museums, including the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. It is currently on view in the lobby of the Seattle Art Museum downtown. After some time, Grade plans to return the sculpture to the foot of the tree from which it was cast, allowing it to gradually moss over and degrade into the forest floor.



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Video by Amos Morgan