The Huntington Commissions Artist Mineo Mizuno for Monumental Outdoor Sculpture

Posted on Wed., Feb. 21, 2024

Mizuno’s site-specific sculpture Homage to Nature debuts on May 25, 2024.

A man in a blue shirt and hat looks off camera, in front of a rock or tree formation.

Mineo Mizuno. Image courtesy of the artist.

SAN MARINO, Calif.—The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens announced today that it has commissioned California-based Japanese American artist Mineo Mizuno to create a site-specific sculpture titled Homage to Nature. The monumental work, measuring approximately 16' x 12' x 13', will be installed in an area known as the Stroll Garden, just to the north of the Munger Research Center. The piece, crafted from fallen timber gathered in the forests of the Sierra Nevada, will be framed by views of the San Gabriel Mountains in the distance. Homage to Nature will be unveiled on May 25, 2024, and will remain on view for five years.

“I am thrilled that we have commissioned Mineo Mizuno for this site-specific sculpture,” said Robert Hori, the associate director of cultural programs at The Huntington. “Homage to Nature will quietly invite visitors to reflect on California’s native woodlands and the active threat posed to them by climate change. The sculpture beautifully complements Mineo’s other works at The Huntington and will inspire an interesting conversation about the connections between art and nature.”

Homage to Nature explores the fragility of the Earth’s ecosystem, as well as the destruction of the forest and its potential for regeneration. By using reclaimed timber, the sculpture celebrates the beauty of wood in its natural state and emphasizes its potential as a reusable and renewable resource. Using yakisugi (shou sugi), a traditional Japanese method of wood preservation known in the West as burnt timber cladding, the charred surfaces of the reclaimed timber in the sculpture speak not only to fire’s destructive power but also to its ability to reinvigorate the land. As a companion and response to the sculpture, a “fire landscape” will be planted on the opposite side of the path, to the south of the sculpture, to mimic new growth that occurs naturally after a fire.

Homage to Nature is the final installment in a series of works by the artist currently on view at The Huntington. Two of his ceramic compositions, Komorebi - light of forest and Thousand Blossoms (2020), situated along the grand hallway of the Huntington Art Gallery, engage in a playful conversation with a pair of nearby 19th-century terra-cotta figures. Mizuno’s Nest on the Huntington Art Gallery’s loggia carries the motif of nature even further, using tree branches, ceramic, and other materials to create delicate bird nests, looking out on the vast landscape below. His Teardrop with Calligraphy “Zero” is exhibited in the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art alongside works by other artists influenced by both the East and West.

Mineo Mizuno (American, b. Japan, 1944) draws inspiration from the wilderness of the Sierra Nevada foothills in Northern California, where he has lived and worked since 2016. Mizuno is widely known for his technical mastery of the ceramic medium, and his most recent works involve wood from fallen trees, exploring ideas of life, renewal, and the intertwined future of humans and nature. Mizuno studied ceramics at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles from 1966 to 1968. He established his studio in 1978, and in 1981, he received a National Endowment for the Arts Award. Shown throughout the United States and Japan, his work is included in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago; Crocker Art Museum; The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens; Long Beach Museum of Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Renwick Gallery; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Palm Springs Art Museum; and Smithsonian Institution.

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About The Huntington

The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens is a cultural and educational institution of global significance. Building on Henry E. and Arabella Huntington’s renowned collections, The Huntington supports research and promotes education in the arts, humanities, and botanical science through the growth and preservation of its collections; the development of a community of scholars, school programs, and partnerships; and the display and interpretation of its extraordinary resources for diverse audiences. The Huntington is located at 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, California, 12 miles from downtown Los Angeles. Visitor information: huntington.org.

Contacts

Jessica McCormack, 323-497-9308, huntingtonnews@huntington.org

Thea M. Page, 626-405-2260, tpage@huntington.org