On view

American, b. 1940
Nostoc II, 1975
30 in. x 49 ft. 3 in. x 40 ft. 9 in. (76.2 cm x 15 m x 12.4 m)
Gift of the Ralph E. Ogden Foundation
Photo by Jerry L. Thompson

Nostoc II is nestled in the woods at the north-east edge of the Storm King grounds, accessible by a narrow path off the Moodna Creek Trail. Set on a slightly downward slope, it does not immediately distinguish itself from its surroundings. Rather, Nostoc II emerges gradually in time and space, revealing its form as the viewer follows roughly circular paths of about 148 boulders and large rocks set on the ground in a 350-square-foot area punctuated by tall trees. Rejecting the single focus of traditional sculpture, Patricia Johanson creates space to be walked through and discovered; an overall scheme emerges only through physical interaction with the sculpture. The artist thus brings people to nature through art and to art through nature.

Nostoc II was the first commissioned work to be created entirely on-site with materials exclusively from Storm King’s property. Its overall form is based on the molecular structure of nostoc, a blue-green algae that appears as a chain of irregular circular elements. The environmentally sensitive arrangement stems directly from Johanson’s exploration of the relationship between plant forms and buildable structures and marks the first instance in which she was able to transpose the image of a plant form to a full-scale sculpture.