Jessica Sanders


To install Ground, Sanders will create ten sculpted earth chairs, in a variety of forms, within sight of one another along the coastline of Randall’s Island Park. The chairs will be bound by Kentucky Bluegrass, chosen for its suitability to the Island’s ground and climate as well as for its balance of softness and durability. The installation will offer an unmitigated phenomenological experience, the opportunity to interact with a living material in a simultaneously nostalgic and atypical way. The variety of forms will offer places for contemplation, play and community: a solitary quiet seat; a pair of low and intimate conversational chairs; long chairs to lounge upon; and stump stools in a line by the coast, places to sit and fish or consider the ocean. Sited along the river, the sloping grassy curves will invite all the senses, and will juxtapose the ephemeral nature of land with the steel and concrete of Manhattan just across the river. Ground will change with time and use, showing areas of wear, a mark and history of what came before, yet will continue to grow and to replenish itself – providing a place for New Yorkers to connect with the physicality of nature.

The Blog

Instillation Day 4 and 5

After placing the sod, the last step was to remove the layer of existing grass where the two forms met, so the forms meet seamlessly with the ground. 

Instillation Day 3

Instillation Day 3 - my instillation crew, the wonderful Allison and Julia, and I had ideal weather through the entire week. Thursday called for heavy rain, so we needed to get through laying sod by the end of the day. We were behind schedule, but Debbie Unger and her production crew from the Parks Department stepped in and brought us back to speed. Not only did they work hard and help us when we needed it, they made it fun. 

Thank you Deb, Charlie, Jose, Chi Chi, Husani, Wayne, Ron, and Jeff! 

All 10 forms were finished and filled with soil, and sod was laid down. To fit the sod to the different forms, the sod was handled as fabric, darted and cut to fit the specific space. 

Instillation Day 2

Instillation Day 2 was filling and packing the forms with dirt.

Insillation Day 1

Instillation Day 1 - putting together the wooden bases on site, Installing Rebar supports into the ground, and filling the bases with a first layer of dirt. 


Cut Footprints

The Artist

Jessica Sanders(b. 1985, Mena, Arkansas)

Jessica Sanders makes sculpture, installations, and paintings that investigate interactions through the filter of materials and physicality, focusing on matter which has an immediacy – wax, sugar, salt, clay, honey, hair, mud. Her work carries a haptic corporeality, incorporating tactile elements with process, looking for moments of shift and change. She studied at the University of Miami (BFA, 2007) and the Ohio State University (MFA, 2010).

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