Art made from soil – yes soil – at John Wayne Airport

A new exhibition featuring artwork made from soil collected from 38 United Nations countries is now on display at the John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Orange County, California.

JWA - Common Ground191 - by Gary Simpson

Commonground191” includes 14 paintings that Gary Simpson created with soil collected from 38 different countries, along with samples of the soils and information explaining how the soil was collected and imported.  The exhibition includes just a portion of a larger project Simpson began in 2002 that, when complete, will feature paintings made with soil from 192 countries.

Why soil? And why soil from 192 countries?

Here’s how Simpson explains it:

My vision involves creating a large series of abstract panels, 196 of them to be exact, one for each of the 192 countries in the United Nations and five discretionary. For this “Tectonic Art” endeavor, each panel would be about 42”x42” square and when assembled would be 50 feet by 50 feet. To prepare each piece, I intend to collect soil or sand from each of the 192 nations. The mixture will then be incorporated in the texture of the total.

JWA - Soil art show - SUBDUCTION image

Commonground191 will be on display in the Terminal A (post-security), in the Vi Smith Concourse Gallery at John Wayne Airport through February 2010.