Posted by: Bridgett Hernandez

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  • 03/14/2022

Documenting Wing Haven: Year 5 of 200

ACRES is creating a 200-year snapshot of Wing Haven in Steuben County through the works of artists, humanities scholars and scientists.

We launched the Ecological Reflections project in 2017 with the goal of compiling a body of work to better understand how a particular place changes through time. The project seeks to inspire people to see land and its protection in a new way.

In 2021, ACRES partnered with local artist Matt Mabis to create a piece that captures Wing Haven’s landscape through clay.

Artist Statement by Matt Mabis

I grew up in a small rural village in Ohio as a son of a cabinet-making wood carver and a seamstress. My extended family was filled with other types of craftspeople and artisans as well. With such a fertile garden of influence around me, I was inevitably drawn to the arts like a moth to flames.

Clay gives my hands the tactile experience I enjoy and has a wide range of applications. I found that the visual representation painting and drawing can achieve, clay can do as well when used in sculpting reliefs.

Despite its proximity to Angola, Indiana and Interstate 69, Wing Haven provides a peaceful serenity, both restful and regenerative. I was impressed with how the Wing Haven buildings nestle into their surroundings, almost as companions to nature rather than in competition with it.

My goal for this piece was to capture the grade and perspective of the land, which is difficult to do in a two-dimensional format. I wanted to depict the textures of the landscape, to convey the “feeling” of this special place using clay to create a very low-relief profile.

Being asked to do this project for ACRES Land Trust was a gift. It gave me the chance to give back to this organization that has provided me with a sense of peace and wonder by protecting local land across our region, not only for my benefit, but also for my kids and grandkids and the whole community.

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