California Artist Mineo Mizuno Crafts Monumental ‘Homage to Nature” Sculpture for The Huntington

Published on Feb 24, 2024

Mineo Mizuno. [Image courtesy of the artist]

The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens announced it has commissioned California-based Japanese American artist Mineo Mizuno to create a site-specific sculpture titled “Homage to Nature”.

The monumental work, measuring approximately 16′ x 12′ x 13′, will be installed in an area known as the Stroll Garden, just to the north of the Munger Research Center.

It will be unveiled on May 25, 2024, and will remain on view for five years.

Crafted from fallen timber sourced from the Sierra Nevada forests, the piece will be framed by vistas of the San Gabriel Mountains.

“I am thrilled that we have commissioned Mineo Mizuno for this site-specific sculpture,” Robert Hori, Associate Director of Cultural Programs at The Huntington, said. “‘Homage to Nature’ will quietly invite visitors to reflect on California’s native woodlands and the active threat posed to them by climate change. The sculpture beautifully complements Mineo’s other works at The Huntington and will inspire an interesting conversation about the connections between art and nature.”

“Homage to Nature” delves into the fragility of Earth’s ecosystem, the devastation of forests, and their potential for rejuvenation. Employing reclaimed timber, the sculpture celebrates wood’s innate beauty and underscores its potential as a reusable and renewable resource.

Using “yakisugi,” a traditional Japanese method of wood preservation where the surface of the wood is slightly charred, the reclaimed timber in the sculpture symbolizes fire’s dual nature – destructive yet regenerative. As a counterpoint to the sculpture, a “fire landscape” will be cultivated on the opposite side of the path, south of the sculpture, to illustrate natural growth after a fire.

“Homage to Nature” marks the final piece in a series by Mizuno currently showcased at The Huntington. Mizuno’s ceramic compositions, “Komorebi – light of forest” and “Thousand Blossoms” (2020), are nestled along the grand hallway of The Huntington Art Gallery, with 19th-century terra-cotta figures nearby.

In “Nest,” installed on the Huntington Art Gallery’s loggia, Mizuno extends the nature motif by employing tree branches, ceramic, and other materials to fashion delicate bird nests that overlook the expansive landscape below.

Mizuno’s “Teardrop with Calligraphy ‘Zero'” is exhibited in the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art alongside works by other artists influenced by both the East and West.

Born in Japan and educated at the California Institute of the Arts’ Chouinard Art School in Los Angeles, Mineo Mizuno finds inspiration in the Sierra Nevada foothills wilderness in Northern California, where he has resided and worked since 2016. Renowned for his technical prowess in ceramics, Mizuno’s recent works incorporate wood from fallen trees, exploring themes of life, renewal, and the interconnected future of humans and nature.

Mizuno established his studio in 1978, earning a National Endowment for the Arts Award in 1981. His work is showcased across the U.S. and Japan and is housed in collections including the Art Institute of Chicago, Crocker Art Museum, Long Beach Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Renwick Gallery, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Palm Springs Art Museum, and Smithsonian Institution.

For more information about Mizuno’s works in The Huntington, visit

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