Steven L. Anderson’s steel sculpture Shared History #2 has been installed and is permanently on display on the wooded grounds of Atlanta’s Blue Heron Nature Preserve. Created as the culminating presentation of Anderson’s 2020 BHNP Arts Residency, this thin sheet steel artwork resembles the cross sections of harvested trees—piled up, balancing delicately on one another, threatening to topple and roll off. The sculpture keeps the two-dimensional origins of Anderson’s Tree Rings drawings intact, while the lines are drawn by welding, grinding, and scratching the surface.
As the steel develops a patina of rust over time, the artwork’s placement among the leaves, vines, and rotted logs will seem less uncanny, and the sculpture itself will more a part of nature than apart from nature.
Shared History #2 reflects a general sense of responsibility and culpability that we are bound with, collectively, as people who live in Atlanta, Georgia, United States, Earth. Our global ecological crisis stems from local actions, like the rapid deforestation in our metro area. Yet “Shared History” could also point to a shared future, given the current convergence of environmental and social justice movements to defend Atlanta’s forests.
The artist would like to thank sculptor and educator Jane Foley for her significant role in bringing this artwork into existence.