Friday, September 28, 2007

Kate Raudenbush :: Guardian of Eden

Artist Kate Raudenbush’s large-scale, outdoor sculpture, Guardian of Eden, is an intricately designed twelve-petal lotus flower made from plasma-cut steel. It stands over nineteen feet in diameter, and nearly eighteen feet high, and is inspired by Hindu creation myths and Egyptian and Buddhist symbolism. It contains twelve white l.e.d. lights inside of glass globes on the tips of each petal, as well as a blue-green light that emanates from beneath the sculpture, casting watery, organic shadows across the ground. You’ll find more information about the sculpture at the artist’s Web site and the Guardian of Eden Web site, and information about the background of the Egyptian and Hindu myths informing its creation at these Web sites about the Flower of Life and Vishnu’s sacred lotus, Padma.

Guardian of Eden was designed to express the Burning Man theme for 2007, The Green Man. As Raudenbush explains, “Guardian of Eden frames our current ecological crisis within the petals of the sacred lotus flower—the mythological seat of creation and the symbol of enlightenment. In Hindu creation mythology, a new era of time is created after a lotus flower blooms. As a meditation on our own era of time, this steel lotus flower blooms before us as a physical reflection of the fierceness and beauty of our planet under threat. She is the guardian of the Eden that once was. At night, the ancient Egyptian Flower of Life symbol radiates from the heart of the lotus reminding us of the interconnectedness of all life. Guardian of Eden is a gathering space for us to consider our role in this turbulent age and to recognize that [Earth’s] survival is intimately connected to our own. It is up to us to define what this new era of time will be. It is we who are the Guardians of Eden.”

Raudenbush is an interactive installation sculptor, green-furniture designer, and photographer living in New York. In her eleven-year career as a photographer, she has collaborated with musicians, theaters, and a range of corporate clients. A graduate of Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Raudenbush also studied at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington D.C., The International Center of Photography in New York, and The School of Visual Arts in New York. Guardian of Eden is the artist’s fourth sculpture to receive a grant from the Burning Man organization.

Guardian of Eden was commissioned by the Burning Man organization; the NMA thanks Burning Man for their support of this exhibition.