How Plants Travel, a foliate wall sculpture formed of steel, glass, and porcelain, is an important acquisition of Michael Sherrill’s work for the Asheville Art Museum. Donated by Marsha Madorsky, this artwork was included in Michael Sherrill Retrospective organized by the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC in 2019, and then travelled to the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, and Arizona State University Art Museum in Tempe, AZ. How Plants Travel was created in 2003, the same year Sherrill received the honor of Artist of the Year by the Mint Museum of Craft + Design. This sculpture joins six other works by Sherrill in the Museum’s Collection.
The interpretive text accompanying How Plants Travel from the Mint Museum is as follows: “In the early 2000s Sherrill’s work became larger, yet more refined, shifting from tabletop items to wall pieces. How Plants Travel is indicative of these new areas of artistic exploration. The metal armature, which is present in other works, here becomes a central design feature, both lending support for the nearly life-size structure and leading the eye up and through the work, connecting all the pieces into one. Like notches in a growth chart, the flower forms are measured in their placement, gradually getting smaller with each new iteration. This has the effect of time-lapse photography, as the viewer is invited to contemplate each stage of growth as parts or a whole.”
To encourage pollination and the transportation of seeds, plants often exude alluring, bright colors in their foliage to attract animals and insects. Seeds are moved about by foragers and pollinators as a result of consuming or coming in contact with plants. The title of this Sherill artwork, How Plants Travel, and the bright colors of the sculpture’s details, speak to this process in nature.
Michael Sherrill has lived in the western North Carolina mountains since 1974. He considers himself a materials-based artist experimenting primarily in the media of metal, clay, and glass. At the heart of his interest is the intersection of where humans and materials meet in both handmade objects and the natural world. Learn more at michaelsherrill.com.