The Winthrop Rockefeller Institute is saddened to learn about the passing of Marshall Miller, who became a dear friend during the Institute’s 2018 Art in its Natural State competition.

“His use of farm implements to mimic birds in flight brings delight and inspiration to visitors and our employees alike, and serves as a reminder of our friendship with Marshall,” Janet Harris, the Institute’s Chief Strategy Officer, said. “He was a talented, thoughtful, and kind person, and our hearts are with all of his family and friends who mourn his loss.”

A visual of "Plowing the Troposphere," an art installation by Marshall Miller than depicts Canadian geese flying in a "V."
“Plowing the Troposphere” by Marshall Miller

Miller was known for his clean, simple, economical, and honest aesthetic. He said he worked to “distill an experience, a visual memory, an emotion, or some imagined ideation and convert it into a perceivable form.” More of his art can be seen online at

“Plowing the Troposphere,” Miller’s installation at the Institute, was inspired in part by the Canadian geese that frequent the Institute grounds, and created from repurposed farming and industrial elements.

“Implements of the man-made world draw heavily on the designs of nature,” Miller said about his work. “This piece combines the shapes of farm and industrial tools to create the inspirational flight of birds in formation, with broad sweeping wings and a natural sense of order. The Institute was once the home and cattle farm of Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller. The farm implements used…honor the rich history of this pastoral setting and the work done here. The large shears in the sculpture were used in the bookbinding industry in bygone days to trim millboard for book covers. Because the Institute has a mission to education and illuminate issues, as books do, I feel there is a tie between this tool and the Institute.”

“Plowing the Troposphere” was generously supported by Lisenne Rockefeller and her family, and later dedicated by them to Winthrop P. Rockefeller, Winthrop’s late son and former Lt. Governor of Arkansas, who “loved Petit Jean Mountain and spent his life dedicated to conservation.”

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