The above sound clip is a sampler of what we heard while making the painting, Intensive Rotational Grazing. The call and response between animal and man as they moved through pasture in a deeply regenerative way was primal. It sparked new work in both sound design and sculptural installation.
Below are a sampler of images and the text of the process.
Active in Shelburne, Vermont, Nancy Winship Milliken is an environmental artist who creates place-based art drawn from the rural landscape. Captivating and monumental in its scale, Intensive Rotational Grazing was commissioned by BCA Center and created during Milliken’s summer 2017 artist residency at Bread and Butter Farms.
Milliken references a practice known as “Managed Intensive Rotational Grazing,” a livestock grazing system that regularly moves herds from foraged to fresh pastures so as to optimize animal health and economic productivity, while preventing overgrazing and soil erosion. This practice also creates pastures resilient to the impact of substantial water events, and reduces farm runoff that can detrimentally impact the local watershed.
Through a collaborative process between farmer and bovine, Milliken developed a method to capture the imprint of Bread and Butter cows as they journeyed between pastures using specially constructed canvases. Milliken marks the dairy cows’ journey on the stark, white canvas using an “earth pigment” comprised of soil and water sourced from the farm. Intensive Rotational Grazing transcends a forage technique to become a metaphor for the delicate balance we often maintain between economic prosperity and environmental conservation