Political Hay and Giant Seeds

Floyd Elzinga’s Haymaker Exhibition at Redeemer

Anna Bolton 

It’s not often that Redeemer plays host to a thousand-pound metal dandelion seed and shredded paper hay bales, but for the duration of artist Floyd Elzinga’s exhibition Haymaker, this is, in fact, the case.  

 Elzinga is mainly a conceptual artist whose work is heavily influenced by the environment. For over fifteen years he has been working primarily with steel and found objects, creating giant pinecones and five-foot sculpted weeds.

In his show Haymaker, which is on display in the Redeemer art gallery until the end of November, Elzinga juxtaposes agriculture and business in an attempt to show how the two seemingly unrelated realms actually go together.

Elzinga comes from a farming family, and his agricultural knowledge is evident throughout his Haymaker pieces.

“This show merges a lot of the different worlds I know that have usually stayed separate,” Elzinga said.

“It’s a very interesting mixture of how two drastically different worlds somehow go together,” said Jessica Puddicombe, a third-year art major at Redeemer.

This juxtaposition of agriculture and business is reflected in the very materials Elzinga uses for his pieces. “It’s crazy how he takes metal, such an inorganic substance, and makes it look organic,” said Rachael Bosma, student art curator at Redeemer.

 

Elzinga combines agricultural icons and business archetypes, as well as the organic and inorganic, in ways both interesting and beautiful. In his piece Political Hay, Elzinga actually puts shredded office documents through a hay baler to create bales of “political hay.”

 In another piece, Industrial Growth, Elzinga creates a new plant shoot out of steel that grows up and around a piece of industrial equipment.

In all of the Haymaker pieces, there is this melding of the natural qualities of agriculture and nature with the inorganic characteristics of steel and the business world.

While some of his pieces, such as Industrial Growth, provide a sense of hope and potential for the future of agriculture, others are meant to bring awareness to what Professor Chris Cuthill, head of Redeemer’s art department, describes as “the potential for cultivation to be misused.”

Elzinga wanted to make an agricultural statement with this show that he claims has been twenty years in the making. “I’ve always looked at this gallery as a sculpture gallery,” Elzinga said. “This space commands larger pieces.”

 Elzinga certainly delivered, as the Redeemer art gallery thrives with his metallic weeds, seeds and unconventional hay bales. His work couldn’t even be contained within the gallery, as a sculpture of a round hay bale made of scrap metal extends the exhibition outside to the quad.

 “I think this show has pushed the bounds of Redeemer’s gallery further than it ever has been before,” Bosma said. “I hope people will take the time to come look at it.”

 To see more of Elzinga’s work and to learn more about it, visit his website at http://www.floydelzinga.com