John Grade is a Seattle-based artist who creates monumental installations that significantly alter the viewers’ experience of architecture and nature. Gritty, industrial materials are Grade’s trademark. He likes his work to have weight in an almost precarious sort of way, as if the piece might give and crush the viewer at any second. Inspired by the land art movement of the ’60s and ’70s, Grade’s work echoes the scale and impact of famous Earthworks like Spiral Jetty, though most of his interventions take place inside of museum and gallery environments rather than the land itself.
Nonetheless, Grade forges a connection between the natural and the manmade. His piece Capacitor (pictured above), which first appeared at the Kohler Arts Center in Wisconsin in 2013, utilized a mechanism that compared historical weather data with realtime data from sensors on the museum’s roof. The more the current weather data differed from the historical norm, the more the sculpture moved and glowed. Inserting bits of architecture into nature and organic shapes into otherwise structured environments, Grade invites new perspectives on the places we inhabit.