Meditations on The Natural by Andy Moerlein

At Boston Sculptors

By: - Feb 23, 2021

Wood Stone Poem
Meditations on The Natural by Andy Moerlein
Boston Sculptors
486 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA 02118
May 5 – June 6, 2021
Featuring:  Guest Artists JooLee Kang and Mary Graham
Private VIP event/reception: Wednesday May 5th 5p-7p
First Friday opening May 7th 5p-8p & June 4th 5p-8p

Special events:
The Art of Bonsai -- Bonsai in Art. May 5, 5 pm
Sijo Contest Poetry Reading.  May 15th, 3pm
New Materialism - Cultivated Natural. May 27th, 7pm
The Science and Philosophy of Cultivating Bonsai. June 3rd, 8 pm

 On view May 5 to June 6, 2021 at Boston Sculptors Gallery, 486 Harrison Ave., Andy Moerlein’s exhibition wood stone poem considers ancient traditions of reverence for nature. While contemporary culture is confident of our domination over nature, the pandemic has laid bare the global impact of forces beyond our control. As we grapple with our persistent pursuit of comfort and relentless consumption, is it possible to be a gentle partner on this earth? Moerlein’s sculptures invite meditations on The Natural.

The works featured are inspired by Moerlein’s fascination with ancient practice of collecting and displaying unusual and often awkward stones. Brought indoors and placed on pedestals, these stones (Scholars Rocks, Viewing Stones) are transformed into icons of personal or imagined journeys. These rocks have influenced philosophers and artists for thousands of years.

This exhibit will present a diverse array of  Moerlein’s wood carvings of scholar rocks in a variety of wood types and sizes from the tiny to indoor monumental, as well as some of his handmade stones. Moerlein’s handmade stones have been displayed in public art, outdoors in trees and on a monumental scale. For this indoor show an installation of these unexpectedly lightweight stones will ground a satin band of color through the gallery space.

New to this exhibition are Moerlein’s tree forms. Eccentrically shaped sensual limbs entangle, embrace and support the artist’s “handmade” stones. Reminiscent of the choreographic balance of bonsai cultivation, these constrained and designed forms are both delightful and unsettlingly unnatural. Moerlein’s work shifts between a sense of complete control, and the awkward realization that things are totally wrong in his world.

The bonsai influenced limb configurations are spare and expressive. Some have a handmade stone held overhead in a seemingly too fragile limb. Moerlein’s fascination with imbalance and kinesthetic discomfort are fully evident.

Moerlein has included drawings, prints and ink paintings. This flat work shows color experiments, design musings and reveal the extent of the past two years of concept development into this series. For people who have followed Moerlein’s work over his career may be surprised by the rich color palette of the print work and the large installation. There is the familiar exceptional wood work, but also a new liveliness about this show that is invigorating after this confining year.

Two artists, and a bonsai master gardener have been invited by Andy Moerlein to contribute to this show. The ambition is to offer a deeper experience of the aesthetic that inspires the sculpture on view. NH based Mary Graham is known for her expansive landscape paintings that depict the familiar White Mountain vistas in a way that is reminiscent of Chinese landscape paintings. Graham is creating a three-panel painting that has both the mountains she loves and hints of the bonsai she grows. Korean Artist JooLee Kang is including a video of her ball point pen drawing of bonsai and stone and animal zoomorphs. Her passion for the “cultivate natural” is evident in these discomforting yet beautiful designs. For the first week of the show Michael Levin, founder and bonsai master at Bonsai West in Litttleton Massachusetts will have one of his ancient trees on display. Chosen from some of the oldest and most notable Bonsai trees in New England, this will be an exceptional brief opportunity.

This exhibition also features a poetry challenge sponsored by the Korean Cultural Society of Boston in collaboration with Mr. Moerlein. Using Sijo, an ancient Korean style of short poetry similar to Japanese Haiku, poets have been invited to write poems inspired by selected works in the show. The best poems will be chosen by David McCann, Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Literature Emeritus, Harvard University, and be on display in the gallery throughout the show.

Four events featuring the artists and guests as well as a poetry reading have been organized by Mr. Moerlein. Two events will be in the gallery with Covid limited attendance, and two will be virtual only, but all will be zoom accessible live and recorded for later viewing. For more information visit

 Wood stone poem Meditations on The Natural by Andy Moerlein runs concurrently with Donna Dodson: Amazons Among Us. All events are free and open to the public with COVID -19 precautions in place.

Guest Artists JooLee Kang and Mary Graham

A bonsai tree (limited engagement) by Michael Levin courtesy of Bonsai West, Littleton, MA.

Korean style Sijo poems from Min-Jeong Kim and prize winning poems selected by David McCann, Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Literature Emeritus at Harvard University. In partnership with the Korean Cultural Society of Boston ??????

Meet and Greet with the Andy Moerlein: Saturdays May 8th, 15th and 22nd 11a-5p

Mary Graham, Guest Artist and Michael Levin, Bonsai Master.
The Art of Bonsai -- Bonsai in Art. May 5, 5 p
IN-PERSON. Attendance limited by COVID restrictions in place.

David McCann, Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Literature Emeritus, Harvard University, and Andy Moerlein
Poetry Reading  May 15th, 3p
Poets were invited to create Korean style Sijo poems inspired by individual sculptures in the show. Website:

JooLee Kang, Guest Artist and James Clifton, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
New Materialism - Cultivated Natural. May 27th, 7p ZOOM ONLY.

Craig Yee, Founding Director of Ink Studio and Michael Hagedorn, Bonsai Master. The Science and Philosophy of Cultivating Bonsai. June 3rd, 8 p ZOOM ONLY.

James Clifton- Director, Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation Curator, Renaissance and Baroque Painting, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Mary Graham is a visual artist focused on landscapes that reflect the spiritual dimensions of mountain wilderness. Her atmospheric paintings evoke a sense of solitude, sanctuary and transcendence, and express a reverence for nature, influenced by the mountains-and-rivers tradition of Chinese painting and poetry, and a nearly life-long interest in the art of bonsai, allowing for an intimate knowledge into the lives of trees.  She received her BFA from the New Hampshire Institute of Art and her interest in Asian art has led to further study and practice in Chinese ink painting and Japanese hanga printmaking. Her paintings and prints are exhibited regularly in group and solo exhibitions in galleries throughout New England and New York.

Michael Hagedorn’s bonsai work bridges tradition and innovative design. He apprenticed with bonsai master Shinji Suzuki in Obuse, Japan from 2003-2006, and authored the apprenticeship memoir ‘Post-Dated: The Schooling of an Irreverent Bonsai Monk’ and the offbeat educational book ‘Bonsai Heresy: 56 Myths Exposed Using Science & Tradition’. Formerly a potter, Michael is the Bonsai Consultant for the Portland Japanese Garden, teaches classes to international students at his garden Crataegus Bonsai, and blogs weekly at

JooLee Kang received her MFA from Tufts University - School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, USA and her BFA in Painting from Duksung Women’s University in Seoul, Korea. She had numerous exhibitions including solo exhibitions at Gallery NAGA (USA, 2020, 2017, 2014), Korean Cultural Center in Madrid (Spain, 2018), Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art (Korea, 2018), Harvard Medical School (USA, 2018), Museum of Art at Univ. of New Hampshire (USA, 2014)and group exhibitions at Amorepacific H.Q. (Korea, 2019), Newport Art Museum(USA, 2019), Suwon Ipark Museum of Art (Korea, 2018), Fitchburg Art Museum (USA, 2018), and Taipei Fine Arts Museum (Taiwan, 2017). Kang also received Suwon Cultural Foundation Artist Grant (2019), Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture Artist Grant (2018), SMFA Traveling Fellowship (2013), St. Botolph Club Artist Award (2012), and Massachusetts Cultural Council Award (2012).  Shewas invited as an Artist-in-Residence at Gyeonggi Creation Center (Korea,2018), Cheongju Art Studio (Korea, 2017), Willapa Bay AiR (USA, 2015), and Beijing Inside-Out Art Museum (China, 2014).

Michael Levin is a Bonsai Master Gardener and owner of Bonsai West since 1989. While running New England’s premier bonsai nursery and greenhouses, Michael has accumulated an important collection of ancient trees and shares in his sales area a veritable museum of the world’s finest bonsai from his personal collection in Littleton MA. One of Michael’s trees will be featured in the gallery during the show May 5 – 7.

David McCann, the Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Literature Emeritus at Harvard University, received his B.A. from Amherst College, taught English for two years in Korea in the Peace Corps, and received M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard.  He has published thirtyone books: anthologies, studies on Korean literary culture, translations of the poets Sowol, Pak Chaesam, Kim Chi Ha, Ko Un, Kim Namjo, and So Chongju, as well as four collections of his own poetry.  His work in the field of Korean literature has been recognized by the Manhae Prize in 2004, and the Korean Culture Order of Merit in 2006.  His current work explores the performance functions of literature during periods of cultural confrontation, the case-study functions of historical compilations, and other features of Korean literature and literary culture.

Min-jeong Kim– Is a South Korean Sijo master poet. She received her PhD in Korean Literature from SunKyunKwan University. Presently she is the president of the Sijo  Division of the Korean Writers association, a member of the Language Preservation Committee of the Korean PEN, a Director of the Korean Association of Sijo Poets, the Vice President of the of Kangdong Writers Association, an advisor of the Korean Female Writers Society and the Marae Sijo Poets Association, and she is member of the Wansoek Viewing Stone Society and the Soekgiwon Viewing Stone Society. She has published over ten books of Sijo Poems and a series of essays on the topic of Korean poetry. Her writings have won international acclaim and received numerous awards such as the Kim Gi-rim Literary Award, the Sijosihak Award, the Writer Award of the Korean Writers Association, etc.

Craig L. Yee (Seattle / Beijing) is a founding Director of Ink Studio, a Beijing-based gallery and experimental art space devoted to documenting and exhibiting China’s leading contemporary ink artists. Mr. Yee’s writing on contemporary ink has appeared in a number of monographs including The Phenomenology of Life (2014), on the semiotics of Huang Zhiyang’s multimedia practice, Impulse, Matter, Form (2014) on the ink abstractions of Zheng Chongbin, and Carving the Unconscious (forthcoming, 2015) on the woodcuts and paintings of Chen Haiyan. Mr. Yee has also played a central editorial role in university and museum research projects on classical and modern Chinese painting including New Songs on Ancient Tunes (2007) at the Honolulu Academy of Arts, Selected Masterworks of Modern Chinese Painting: The Tsao Family Collection (2011) at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, and the Modern Ink series of monographs on nineteenth and twentieth century Chinese ink painters published by the University of Hawaii Press.

The Korean Cultural Society of Boston, is dedicated to bringing the best of Korea to New England. We are a non-profit organization that prides itself on hosting and promoting Korean arts and cultural forms in the greater Boston area.


Lunge, 2021. 17”h x 5” x 13”. Scorched red oak, sandblasted and dyed laminated plywood.

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 Gust, 2021. 13”h x 12” x 20”. Dyed laminated plywood on beechwood limb.

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 Passage, 2021. 9”h x 3” x 7”. Dyed elmwood on scorched red oak.

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 Unweighted, 2021. 10” x 11”. Ink and watercolor.