Instead of the usual didactic wall text, Leland Miyano’s exhibition “Historia Naturalia et Artificialia,” features the poem “The Biology of Art” by W.S. Merwin. Merwin, who is a longtime friend of Miyano’s and who has been living on Maui since 1976, is one of the nation’s most prominent poets—having been awarded, among other notable honors, the Pulitzer Prize in 1971 and the National Book Award for Poetry in 2005.
Since the ‘60’s Merwin has moved away from formal and rhetorical boundaries by unpunctuating his poems—allowing them to exist on a more sacred plane. He speaks about the interconnectivity of man with nature, blurring distinctions and notions of individuality in “The Biology of Art”:
“after a long time you look down
into a valley without a name
after a long time as water you look up”
Miyano echoes this innate oneness in his installations, and uses his works as vehicles to both incite environmental awareness and arouse wonder for the natural world. Through poetic use of metaphor, both men speak to a responsible co-existence with nature—one that promises the reward of experiencing its inherent wisdom.