Since 1951, the Denver Botanic Gardens have been giving visitors a unique perspective on flora from around the world. And for the past few decades, they have been incorporating art exhibits into their gardens to create a contrast between man-made and natural beauty.
The most recent installment: Pixelated, is a series of abstract sculptures by artist Mike Whiting. Whiting, a Utah native, has been working on sculpture like these as far back as 2007. Brain Vogt, the CEO of the Botanic Gardens, was very excited to see Whiting’s work put on display throughout the gardens. “Art exhibits are a wonderful platform to teach about the power of nature,” said Vogt.
Whiting’s sculptures, some nearly twelve feet tall, have been all around the country. While Whiting has explored other mediums, he is best known for his sculptures, featuring brightly painted animals, people, and other parts of nature, all Pixelated to give off a somewhat 80’s video game aesthetic. Every sculpture is made from plates of steel, cut with a 3D laser, and then welded together. He finishes all of them with several thick coats of automotive or marine paint, to slow down the natural wear and tear of his art. However, years of being open to the public has worn down some of his projects, including the addition of some graffiti. Whiting, however isn’t bothered by it. “It adds a new history,” he says, “a new visual interest.”
Whiting, commenting on his latest show at the gardens, said, “Taking something virtual and putting it in a real environment really works,” referring to the visual contrast between his pixelated animals and the natural beauty of the gardens. It is certainly an interesting spectacle to see a fake, bright green, blockhead deer underneath the canopy of a tree where you may be expecting a real one. This sensation is what adds to the overall intrigue of the exhibit.
Pixelated at the Denver Botanic Gardens is a creative new take on the contrast between art and nature. The exhibit is on display all summer at the already beautiful Denver Botanic Gardens, so be sure to stop by and explore the ever intriguing concept between virtual and reality.