March 4, 2019 | by Cathy Byrd
Listen to Robert's interview with Cathy Byrd on Fresh Art International.
Miami-based sculptor Robert Chambers lived in Everglades National Park for one month in 2018, as a Fellow in the Artist in Residence in Everglades (AIRIE) program. In the darkness outside his studio one night, the artist tripped on the roots of an ancient plant: The Saw Palmetto (in Latin, Serenoa repens), That’s when a hidden world began opening up to him.
In fact, the small palms are everywhere you look, native to the subtropical wilderness. The leaves are woven into the thatched roofs of indigenous pavilions you’ll find in Big Cypress, a wetlands preserve north of the national park. In some parts of the world, saw palmetto berries are cherished for their healing properties.
At the AIRIE Nest, an art gallery inside the Visitor Center, we meet Robert Chambers to explore his exhibition titled Serepens. AIRIE curator Deborah Mitchell and two environmental scientists who’ve inspired his new body of work are here, too. Botanist Warren Abrahamson has been researching the saw palmetto for forty years. Hilary Swain directs the Archbold Biological Station, a center dedicated to research and conservation in the South Florida watershed.
Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio | Image courtesy of Cathy Byrd, Fresh Art International
Note: A catalog for Robert Chambers' exhibition SEREPENS is available for sale at EXILE Books, AIRIE.org and at the gallery. Please inquire at info[at]emersondorsch.com.
Photo: AIRIE featured Fresh Art International at AIRIE's Sundays in the Park program February 24, 2019. That program was broadcasted live on jolt radio. Pictured at the podium: Everglades Park Ranger , Cathy Byrd and AIRIE Creative Director Deborah Mitchell. Photo credit: Tyler Emerson-Dorsch