October 19, 2021, MINNEAPOLIS—The Minneapolis Artists Exhibition Program (MAEP) at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) will install “Passage” by Aaron Dysart, an exhibition that invites visitors to contemplate the hidden exchanges within the environment. “Passage” will guide visitors through two rooms, highlighting the tie between the ground beneath our feet and the global climate. Curated by Nicole E. Soukup, Mia’s assistant curator of Global Contemporary Art, the exhibition will be on display in Mia’s U.S. Bank Gallery November 19, 2021, through February 22, 2022.
“Passage” centers on two distinct artworks—Dig Down to the Stars and Latitude—that utilize movement and light to ground visitors between the earth and the sky. Both sculptural installations present layered readings of tenuous connections between these two realms, while focusing on the directional movement between them. Roots are upended and allowed to reach for the stars, while columns of air dance with colored light to show the respiration of the planet.
“The first room offers quiet contemplation, and the other presents hypnotic motion,” Dysart said. “Both pieces use different means to question the flow of the unseen and overlooked on this planet and, more subtly, what factors force this movement that is producing ecological change.”
Audiences will first encounter Dig Down to the Stars, a poetic exploration of the deep history that stretches out beneath our feet, in the form of upended roots reflecting the slowly swirling heavens above. And then they move toward Latitude, with its swaying nylon columns of air and light.
Informed by scientific data, Latitude reflects climate data collected from Woodwell Climate Research Center (formerly Woods Hole Research Center) from eddy flux variance towers across the planet from pole to pole; these towers sample how the planet breathes as carbon dioxide is released and sequestered in various biomes. As the rate of carbon transmission into the atmosphere at each location increases, the light in a column of air will turn to a warmer color spectrum, and as that ecosystem collects more carbon, the light will turn cooler.
“Through it all, I just long for people to be a part of their environment, not apart from it,” Dysart said. “The objects and interventions seek to spark wonder at the world around us and to invite people to engage fully and directly with life.”
Aaron Dysart lives and works in Minneapolis. He has an MFA from the University of Minnesota and a BFA from the University of Montana. Currently the city artist in residence in St. Paul through Public Art Saint Paul, Dysart has exhibited nationally. His awards and recognitions include Jerome Fellowships through Franconia Sculpture Park, a McKnight Project Grant through Forecast Public Art, multiple Artist Initiative Grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board, and was a recent Knowing Water Fellow through the Weisman Art Museum, Institute on the Environment, and the Institute on Advanced Studies at the University of Minnesota. He worked with scientists Susan Natali and John Schade from the Woodwell Climate Research Center in Cape Cod to obtain data for this exhibition.