Five large-scale sculptures by Polish American artist Olga Ziemska have been created exclusively for an exhibition, Of the Earth, at The Morton Arboretum.
The exhibition explores the artist’s expression and philosophy that, she says, “We are nature.” Ziemska said that her aim is to remind people that “everything in life is derived from the same basic elements that form everything in nature, including ourselves. There is no separation.” In Polish, Ziemska means “of the earth.”
The artist’s work was created from reclaimed and pruned tree branches and other natural materials gathered from various locations throughout the Arboretum’s 1,700 acres. “I am giving reclaimed natural materials a new life and transforming them from nature into new forms,” Ziemska said.
This is the largest exhibition to date for Ziemska, who lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio. Ziemska has exhibited and created public installations in Poland, Taiwan, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, and other locations globally in a career spanning more than 20 years. Her work entwines and melds the human body with other natural forms, which she notes, “reminds us of our own physicality of seamless connection to the earth and nature.”
The Arboretum’s tree-filled landscapes inspired Ziemska because areas of the Arboretum remind her of the landscapes of Poland, where she previously lived and the majority of her family remains. She has built her career in the male-dominated sculpture world, exploring her multiple identities as a first-generation child of immigrants, an American, an artist, a woman, and a human.
The exhibition will run through spring 2025.