The John Michael Kohler Arts Center has preserved a distinct permanent collection by extraordinary artists, when the work and its story could have easily faded into obscurity. Today, as we witness mass extinctions of fauna and flora, attention must be given to other vital forms of preservation; Art Preserve’s washroom, Wild Madder, offers a dynamic counterpoint to this end.
Inspired by Herbariums, Wild Madder will depict approximately 1,279 flora species found specifically in East Central Wisconsin, with emphasis on examples found in Sheboygan County. Each wall of the washroom will depict hundreds of plants, floor to ceiling in highly saturated color tiles made of ceramic and glass. The composition will contour to aspects of the components, inspired by stained glass fabrication.
Wild Madder’s focal point will be enclosed vignettes, embedded within the wall and faced with switchable privacy glass. Upon approach, the glass will reveal an illuminated shallow relief of an endangered plant. These shadow boxes will have the most direct reference to an herbarium specimen sheet, with pressed flora appearing to be taped and labeled on a flat panel. The vignettes will be bisqued slip cast ceramic. The toilet and lavatory will be finished with Kohler Co.’s new Waste Lab glaze, a repurposed factory byproduct.
The title, Wild Madder, is the common name of Galium Album of the Rubiaceae family, found within the composition. Art Preserve is scheduled to open August of 2020. For visual updates on the project, please visit the following links: