(Black Spruce)

John Grade’s monumental sculpture, Emeritus, was a temporary installation inspired by the form of an absent tree. Suspended in the middle of a sea of black spruce on a small island in Interior Alaska on Ahtna land were 12 forms suspended from nets anchored to surrounding trees. They amassed around a central hollow ghostly space of an imagined spruce trunk. The forms encompassed thousands of cast resin and carved salvaged wood pieces that referenced spruce cones, needles, and branches. Lower suspended pieces carved in wood and superficially burned invoked the trees’ complex relationship to wildfire.

Like many of Grade’s works — which are commonly transformed by the action of rain, wind, insects, weather, and other forces — the intent of Emeritus was to live parallel to, and be transformed by, our regional botanical ecosystem. The first iteration of Emeritus on the Oregon State University campus in 2022-2023 can be seen here. Grade’s past projects in collaboration with the Anchorage Museum include Spark and Murmur.


01 Process Map By Matt Soma (1)
Process map by Matt Soma


John Grade: Spark

John Grade's Spark explores how wildfires are becoming more frequent and intense and impacting our shared landscapes and lives in meaningful ways.

Murmur: Arctic Realities

A monumental sculpture inspired by the life cycle of a pingo

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