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Double Green

Who Am I? Exhibition

Published onAug 24, 2020
Double Green

Double Green, 2008
Mary Merkel-Hess (American, b. 1949)
Paper cord and paper
Gift of the artist. In the permanent collection, Brunnier Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.

Artist’s Statement

Double Green is part of a series of sculptures I made when I was exploring the horizon lines of Iowa. I made many drawings of the shape and contours of the horizon when I traveled around the state.  At about the same time that I made Double Green, I also made other horizon pieces, Along the Horizon (2007) and Along the Horizon 2 (2008), Viola (2005), Belmond (2005). Some earlier attempts to make long, narrow sculptures had a technical problem; they tended to skew slightly. One even had to be discarded because of this tendency (first attempt at Two Hills Midsummer). I solved the problem in two ways. I made an arched base - Belmond and Viola are like this. The arch stabilized the base and also lifted the piece. With others like Along the Horizon 2 and Double Green, I made the piece in parts. Each section was shorter and more stable. These multi-part pieces could be manipulated and led to variations in how they could be displayed.  I expected to place the two equally sized pieces of Double Green touching so that it didn't appear to be two parts at all but I found that I preferred to have the two parts separated by an inch or so. There seemed to be some drama in that; a bit of tension.

The title Double Green, of course refers to the two-part nature of this work, but it also refers to the spring green color of the sculpture and by using several shades of yellow/green, the "double" intensity of the color. Double Green says a lot about the visual characteristics of Iowa: grassy, fertile, strong and simple.

Mary Merkel-Hess


A work of art that could perhaps be viewed as an update to Breaking the Prairie is the sculpture entitled Double Green by Mary Merkel-Hess. It suggests to me a thick and non-manicured grassland. It is suggestive of present-day Iowa: a grassy, fertile, and productive state, but at the same time, simplified. It is suggestive of the horizontal nature of present-day Iowa, and is in two parts. The title refers to the two green sections as well as the extreme green color. The grasses extend overhead, and a path passes through the center of the sculpture. The path is inviting, but what will you find when you pass down the pathway?

Dr. Brian J. Wilsey
Professor, Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology



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