Anything But Stony: Lovely Living Moss Sculptures

Sculptures are typically seen as cold, hard, dead works of art. They may be beautiful, but the metal or stone they’re made of doesn’t lend a particularly lively feel to the pieces. These terraform sculptures from Robert Cannon are different; they combine the solid, permanent nature of stone with the soft and ever-changing nature of moss.

Cannon’s living sculptures are full of life and movement thanks to the pieces of living moss he strategically places on the forms. The moss grows and changes while the stone stays as rigid and unmoving as always. The difference between the two materials is striking and lovely.

The body of work is collectively called Terraform Sculptures. The world terraform means, literally, “Earth forming” – and these sculptures do provide a new and rich environment in which the moss can grow. It’s easy to imagine the moss eventually taking over the concrete and covering the formerly stony surfaces with bright green living tendrils.

The artist’s B.A. from Yale with a focus in architecture has no doubt helped him to construct these fanciful forms and poetic sculptures. They range from the human form to animals to abstract objects, but they all share the visually striking juxtaposition between unmoving stone and living moss.

Cannon has even constructed a 40-foot-square playable chess set from stone and moss, making a truly amazing life-sized game. While many of his sculptures are too large and elaborate to imagine having one in the backyard, he has also created some that are as useful as they are beautiful: benches, seats and small outdoor tables that would fit beautifully into any outdoor space.

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