Heartwood Artwork at Northerly Island Park

1521 S. Linn White Dr.
Chicago, IL 60605

Located Within: Northerly Island Park
Artist: Daniel Popper
Medium: Glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC); Steel, Fiberglass leaves
Year Created: 2021
Installed: 2023
Features: Outdoor, Temporary, Sculpture



Recalling the inner rings at the centre of a tree trunk, Heartwood offers a lyrical meditation on the interconnectedness of humans and nature. While the work’s image might first appear fractured – with the bust of a woman cleaved in two – on closer looking, a resonant parallel becomes apparent. The heartwood of a tree marks its earliest growth and becomes, with the accumulation of annual rings, the plant’s spine; the wood dense and resistant to decay. A cross-section of a trunk reveals a pattern strikingly similar to that of the human fingerprint, and indeed, much like a fingerprint, each tree’s ring pattern is unique in its notation of the passing years. Here, the artist pairs these two images to poetic effect, the two halves of the woman’s form echoing the rings of a fingerprint and heartwood, respectively. In proposing such comparisons, Popper suggests, he reframes “the identity of a tree as a sentient being.” Visitors are invited to stand between the work’s twinned forms to consider the likeness between human and plant, to try to distinguish one from the other. Heartwood reveals itself not a sculpture halved, but a whole composed of two mirrored parts. 

The sculpture is 16' x 10' x 16'.  Click here to learn more.


Map & Facilities

Heartwood | Artwork

1521 S. Linn White Dr.
Chicago, IL 60605
United States