Hunting and Gathering

Sometimes it’s worth examining a personal predilection to learn where it stems from. I have a fascination with sculpture parks and gardens. It’s only been in adult life that I’ve experienced them so it’s not an interest I’ve inherited. But there are family activities from my childhood that could be linked. 

Both my mother and father were bow hunters. In preparation for deer season they practiced at a local archery range. It was a series of paths through wooded terrain with intermittent stations and targets. Before being old enough to hunt myself, I tagged along on their circuits, often running ahead to see what the next target would be. Straw bales with paper targets pinned to them were set up along the course. They were illustrated with a variety of wildlife, each emblazoned with a bull’s eye pattern. The following of paths through natural settings and focused study on man-made objects was an activity my parents enjoyed and shared with me.

I learned from my parents that hunting is to wander landscape and practice looking. These days I do my hunting in sculpture parks. Any shooting I do is with a camera.

While traveling in Illinois recently I walked the prairie landscape of the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park at Governors State University in University Park. Established 30 years ago, the park has grown into a major collection of 26 works by masters of contemporary sculpture.