It’s been over a year since we last checked in on the gravity-defying balanced rock arrangements created by land artist Michael Grab (previously featured here). Much of his most recent work has been created in and around Boulder, Colorado. For Grab, rock balancing is as much a meditative and stress-relieving act as a form of artistic expression.
"The most fundamental element of balancing in a physical sense is finding some kind of “tripod” for the rock to stand on. Every rock is covered in a variety of tiny to large indentations that can act as a tripod for the rock to stand upright, or in most orientations you can think of with other rocks. By paying close attention to the feeling of the rocks, you will start to feel even the smallest clicks as the notches of the rocks in contact are moving over one another.
In the finer point balances, these clicks can be felt on a scale smaller than millimeters. Some point balances will give the illusion of weightlessness as the rocks look to be barely touching. Parallel to the physical element of finding tripods, the most fundamental non-physical element is harder to explain through words. In a nutshell, i am referring to meditation, or finding a zero point or silence within yourself. Some balances can apply significant pressure on your mind and your patience. The challenge is overcoming any doubt that may arise.”
Nephrite is one of the two unrelated minerals that occupy the umbrella term jade, and it occurs in many locations, being a mineral formed by high pressure metamorphism. Micro crystals aggregate together to produce something that looks like a rock, while remaining monomineralic. Colour varies from white to black, with the more common variety being a spinach green colour with black crystalline inclusions. Major commercial sources include China, Australia (black) and the British Columbia region in Canada, where this huge 18 ton boulder was discovered. If you want to fondle a large(ish) boulder for yourself, hidden in the back of an alcove of the main entrance hall in London’s Natural History Museum there is a lovely piece of river shaped deep green nephrite from New Zealand you can go an run your hands over.