VIEW Arboreal Expressions: Nature, Sculpture, Poetry, Philosophy

“The songs of the guardians of silence are the most powerful,” Muscogee Creek writer and U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo suggested.

Forests have long witnessed and endured human folly. Trees sometimes seem to gesticulate as spokespeople for our looming climate cataclysm. “Invocations,” an exhibition of new work by Baltimore-based artist Jordan Tierney explores such arboreal expressions, married with phrases from female environmentalists, poets, and social justice activists.

Found objects and foraged organic materials combine in Tierney’s sculptures as spiritual translators for Earth’s pleas and wisdom. These works rely on a language spoken by the terrain we zoom past every day, our breathing earthling brethren. Bone-like figures are both memorial and messenger, epitaph and prophecy, funeral dirge and call-to-arms.

On Sunday, December 5th at 4pm: a conversation on nature, sculpture, poetry, and philosophy with artist Jordan Tierney, award-winning poet Dora Malech, and renowned environmental philosopher Jane Bennett, moderated by anthropologist Anand Pandian, anchored in Tierney’s new exhibition of “Invocations” at the Area 405 warehouse and art space in Baltimore.

View the recording here. The conversation begins at the 12 minute mark.

Jordan Tierney lives and works in Baltimore with her wife, daughter, and a few dogs. She has been making art as long as she has been breathing. After graduating from MICA, she worked as an illustrator and renovated houses and galleries. Jordan is dedicated to curiosity, awe found in the seemingly mundane, and sharing the Earth.

Dora Malech is the author of four books of poems, most recently, Flourish (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2020) and Stet (Princeton University Press, 2020). Her poetry has appeared in publications that include The New Yorker, Poetry, Poetry London, and Best American Poetry. She is an associate professor in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and the new editor of The Hopkins Review.

Jane Bennett teaches the environmental humanities at Johns Hopkins University. Her new book is Influx & Efflux: Writing up with Walt Whitman (2020), in which she tries to think about a “cosmic” kind of subjectivity. She loves plants and Dada, among other things. She is also the author of Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things (2010); The Enchantment of Modern Life (2001); and Thoreau’s Nature (1994).

Anand Pandian teaches anthropology at Johns Hopkins University. Like Tierney and Bennett, he serves as a curator of the Ecological Design Collective.