Tag Archives: art

Amy Toyen Sculpture (Avon, CT)

Date Of Visit: September 9, 2017

Location: parking lot of Avon Free Public Library, 281 Country Club Road, Avon, CT

Highlights: A life size sculpture of Amy reading a book and clutching a teddy bear

Tips:

  • The sculpture is located in the parking lot next to the left side of the library

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Sixteen years.  Who could imagine so much time has passed?

One hundred and fifty six people with ties to Connecticut died on that tragic day.  A memorial rests on the grounds of the Avon Free Public Library to memorialize one of these, and indeed all of the victims of this day.

Amy Toyen, a resident of Connecticut and employee of Thomson Financial in Newton, Connecticut.  As a side note, when I researched this memorial and Amy, I never knew she worked at the very same corporation I used to work at.  It’s amazing how we all seem to be connected in some way.

Amy, a 1995 Avon High graduate, was killed Sept. 11 while she set up her company’s display booth for a trade show on the 106th floor of the World Trade Center’s north tower.

Dedicated by the 2001-2002 Avon High School Student Government and the Avon community, the 22″ bronze statue depicts a young child, Amy Toyen, on a granite bench reading a book, a teddy bear resting in the crook of her elbow.

To help create the sculpture, Amy’s parents selected a group of photos that portray their daughter as they remember her.

The sculpture shows Amy in daisy print dress, her favorite sneakers and ponytails tied with pompom rubber bands

 

A scholarship was also started in Amy’s name. The first recipient of the annual Amy E. Toyen Memorial Scholarship went to Christine Bialaski, an Avon High senior and honors student who is active in community service, music and field hockey.

Coincidentally, the Bialaski family lives down the street from the Toyens. As a young child, Amy Toyen often waited for the morning school bus at the Bialaskis’ home after her mother left for her teaching job at Renbrook School.

The sculptor, Marilyn Parkinson Thrall of Canton, Connecticut, stops by every once in a while to polish and clean up the sculpture.

The statue, a reminder of all that was lost that day, remembers Amy in a younger, more carefree time.

Amy’s obituary can be found here.


ICA-Part II (Boston, MA)

*This is Part II of my 2 part series about the ICA Museum in Boston, MA.  To view the first part please click here*

In addition to the works of Nari Ward, the ICA displayed art exhibits from a variety of other artists.  One of these artists is Dana Shutz’s.

Dana, an American artist based out of Brooklyn, is widely known for injecting humor into her gestural paintings.  She  has studied art extensively , even studying abroad at the Norwich School of Art and Design in Norwich, England.  While not all of her work had a description of their meaning or intent, I think many of them are fairly self-explanatory or, at the least, left to our own interpretation.

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Elevator On Canvas, 2017, oil on canvas.  This work is part of a series of paintings of an imagined struggle between larger than life figures and giant insects glimpsed between the gleaming doors of an elevator.  Besides addressing people’s claustrophobia, the art may speak to the current heated debate, inner struggles or struggle for attention within the public arena.

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Conflict, 2017, oil on canvas.  This work portrays a quarrel, possibly between lovers, The couple in the painting are both embracing and fighting at the same time.

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To Have A Head, 2017, oil on canvas.

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Shame, 2017, oil on canvas.

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Shaking Out The Bed, 2015, oil on canvas.  This 18 foot wide canvas recalls the Western tradition of history painting.  This painting differs from most history paintings in that it does not highlight noteworthy men and women in our history.  Rather, her painting consists of everyday items that revolve around people in bed.  All of the things we use and, dare I say, rely upon on a daily basis.  A calendar, an alarm clock, day old pizza (a must) and a glass of water are some of the items Dana included in her painting.  Dana said she “wanted the whole painting to feel like a book that was being opened, like you were shaking out of bed and all of the objects contained within are falling and suspended in front of the scene.”  She went on to say she wanted to convey the feeling that “you just missed the alarm and the world is coming back to you in pieces.”

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Flasher, 2012, oil on canvas.

In addition to Shutz’s work, there were a number of other artist’s work being displayed at the ICA.

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Trace, 1980, by Nancy Graves made of bronze, steel, polychromed patina and paint.  Trace depicts a dynamic, wind-blown tree with its bright-green forked trunk rising from a red and brown ground and curving toward the top.  The amorphous crown of leaves is composed of layered, multicolored sheets of steel grating punctuated with geometric lines and grids.  Graves likes to inject nature and the natural world into her works.

Hidden Relief, 2001, by Sarah Sze made of a halogen work lamp on tripod stand, rulers, spring clamps, levels, plastic, styrofoam, bamboo, toothpicks, branches, bottle caps, string, artificial plants, artificial moss, T-square, Alligator clamps, T-pins, cotton swabs, pushpins, dried plants, paint and glass (or pretty much everything but the kitchen sink).

Sarah uses everyday items, like the items included in this display, to create site-specific sculptures and installations that take on the character of landscapes, architecture and improvisational systems.  She used a sample palette of white, orange, yellow, blue and black throughout the work which is brightened by work lights.  Sarah also drew diagram-like lines using pins and string in this work of art.

 

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Depose II by Keith Sonnier made of nylon sailcloth, metal.  This inflatable design balanced a ready made aesthetic with painted geometric elements.  The inflatable part of the sculpture assumes an anthropomorphic form that, when mixed with air from the blower, suggests a living being.  Initially a limp sack, the sculpture must breathe and expand to assume its final form. The title references the act of being deposed, wherein a person is required to give oral out-of-court testimony. The person being deposed is often asked exceedingly personal questions. Perhaps the pinched or pressed inflatable alludes to the feeling of duress that might arise from having to tell the truth in a compromising situation.

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Untitled (Topanga, CA, Umbrella 17) by Sam Falls made of nylon.  Untitled displays the fabric of an umbrella without the support and pinned to the wall.  Sam exposed some of the umbrella’s nylon panels in the California sun for a prolonged period of time.  Then, he interspersed the faded panels with panels that had been kept out of the sun causing a contrast in the colors of the sculpture.  Sam’s work of art invites speculation about the elements of time and change in art and nature.

The intermediate-Inceptive Sphere, 2016, by Haegue Yank made of artificial straw, steel stand, powder coating, artificial plants, artificial fruits, plastic twine, Indian bells and casters.

The Intermediate-Inceptive Sphere is an anthropomorphic sculpture that belongs to a series of woven straw works titled The Intermediates.  The sculpture is adorned with items such as bells that are meant to hang from the necks of cows in India and Korean bridal headpieces.  The work of art also invokes Asian folk cultures, shamanic figures and their rituals.  Haegue used plastic straw to foreground the tension between the organic and synthetic in contemporary life.

Ashes, 2017, is a video by acclaimed director Steve McQueen.

Ashes presents footage on two sides of a freestanding screen. One of the sides, originally shot on soft, grainy Super 8 film, shows a young, carefree fisherman named Ashes balancing playfully on a boat. The other side shows a second projection, shot in 16 mm film, that shows Ashes’s unexpected fate. The videos conjure an easy vitality and a vivid description of place against the darker forces of society and fate.

The last, but not least, attraction at the museum is the view.  Full length glass windows give stunning views of Boston Harbor.  I bet it must be spectacular during sunsets.

On the way to the train station, we met these dogs taking a stroll along the boardwalk at Fort Port Channel.

Emmerson, a 13 year old Shetland, was very comfortable in his stroller

Archie, a 10 year old Yorkie peeking out from behind Emmerson, decided to get out and walk around.

There were also some pretty views of Boston at night along the way.

Today’s featured blogger is The Culture Club.  The Culture Club visited the ICA recently.  I thought his post would be a good companion to my post since he may have photographed pieces I may have missed or weren’t on display when I visited the museum.  You can find his post here.  The Culture does reviews, writes about music and entertainment and he’s got a cute dog!

 


ICA-Part I (Boston, MA)

Date Of Visit: August 25, 2017

Location: 25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston, MA

Hours:

Tuesday + Wednesday: 10 AM – 5 PM
Thursday + Friday*: 10 AM – 9 PM
*First Friday of every month: 10 AM – 5 PM
Saturday + Sunday: 10 AM – 5 PM

Closed Mondays, except on the following national holidays, when admission is FREE for all: Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day.

Closed on Patriot’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

Cost:

General Admission: $15
Seniors: $13
Students: $10
Youth 17 and under: FREE

Admission is FREE for all eve

Parking:There are several parking options that are listed at their ICA parking info

Highlights: creative art displays, info sessions about the art

Tips:

  • parking is very limited in this area.  The museum recommends using public transportation.
  • The museum only has art on the 1st and 4th floors of the building (mostly the 4th floor)

Website: ICA

*I had to split this post into two parts, as it was too big for WordPress to save.  Part I of this post will center upon the works of the featured artist Nari Ward.  The second part of this post will focus on some of the other art at the museum.  I have also included half of the number of the cute dogs I photographed during this visit*

 

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Always at the intersection of art and social issues, he ICA (The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston) recently highlighted the works of an artist who uses his art to make various statements about our social, economic and political climate.  Even if you may not agree with or see his points of view, I am sure you will enjoy his artistic aptitude.

During my visit, Jamaican and American Nari Ward’s work was being featured in his “Sun Splashed” exhibit at the museum.

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Sunsplashed, 2015, is the centerpiece of the art exhibit.  The second work of art is called, Scandal Bag: History Feeds Mistrust.

Nardi, born in 1963 in Jamaica and currently based in New York City, uses everyday items to create works of art that play on the history, economy and social issues surrounding his environment.  He also embraces cultural diversity.

Nari uses wood, metal, iron and other materials with everyday items such as soda bottles.  Nari hits on some hot button issues such as migration, citizenship and economic disparity in his works.

One of the things that struck me about these works of art is the thought and creativity that went behind all of them.

The We The People exhibit by Nari Ward was one of the main works of art at the ICA.  In fact, many of his works of art are being featured

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If you look very closely, you may notice it is not written in ink.  Rather, it is spelled out in artistic dangling shoelaces.  This exhibit was being displayed a block away from the museum.  It surely created a lot of interest and lured in quite a few visitors eager to learn more about Nari’s works of art.

 

Below are Nari’s works of art that were being displayed with a brief description and explanation of their meaning.  Sadly, his art is no longer there as the exhibit’s last day was September 3.  The first work of art is rather unconventional.  But, it was very interesting.

 

Jacuzzi Bed by Nari Ward is made of headboards arranged around heating lamps and fans.  The work of art is meant to produce an approximation of the Caribbean breeze.  The name is meant to conjure association with pleasure and comfort.  Nari says the work conveys his sense of nostalgic displacement.

 

Sky Juice, 1993, is made of an umbrella, iron fence, plastic soda bottles, photographs, Tropical Fantasy soda and sugar.  The soda bottles, hanging from the umbrella, have photos inside of them.  His goal was to create a work of art with disparate things from everyday life to create a work of art everyone can relate to.  “Sky Juice” is the name of a Bahamian drink made from coconut milk and gin (yum).

During my visit, one of the museum guides led an open discussion about the work of art where visitors and she discussed the deeper meaning of the work of art and what the work of art means to them.  She did this several different works of art during my visit.

 

Mango Tourist, 2011, by Nari, are “snowman-like” sculptures are made of burnt foam spheres that he decorated with mango seeds and small electrical parts.  The small capacitors bear traces of the economic and industrial history of New England and of course the snowmen are a staple of our winters.  The organic mango seeds resonate with his memories of Jamaica.

 

Happy Smilers: Duty Free Shopping, 1996, by Nari is made of awning, plastic soda bottles, fire hose, a fire escape, salt, sand, household elements, an audio recording, speakers and an aloe vera plant.  Party music and background conversation from the speakers gave the display a feeling of sitting on a fire escape on a hot summer night.

This exhibit was inspired by a candy store not far from where he lives in Harlem, New York.  While the store appeared to be a convenience store, it was really the site of a small scale gambling site.  This gave Nadir the idea of making an exhibit that shows you can’t judge a place, person or thing by outside appearances.

The name Happy Smilers was derived from a band that was led by Nadir’s uncle that entertained tourists in Jamaica in the 1970’s.  The fire escape and discarded furniture wrapped in fire hoses suggest an urban tableau.  The salt and sand, aloe vera plant, speakers and bright yellow walls are drawn from the cultural context of Jamaica.  The salt evokes a common Jamaican expression about the devil not being able to step over salt.  The succulent symbolizes healing.  Lastly, the soundtrack symbolizes one of the artist’s earliest childhood memories of lying in bed at night while he listened to rain fall on his tin roof in Jamaica.

 

The Naturalization Table is an exhibit based on Nari’s personal experience of becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen, this interactive artwork gives museum visitors a better understanding of that process. During certain days, visitors could add their photo to the display.

 

Radha Liquorsoul, 2010, is a metal and neon sign made of PVC tube, artificial flowers, shoelaces and shoe tips.  This was part of a work made from out of use liquor store signs that Nari removed from building facades in New York.  Ward was interested in the many uses and impact liquor has in our lives.  Nari also used shoe tips (which Nari considers a a signature material that symbolizes human presence), shoelaces and artificial flowers.  Nari was partly inspired by impromptu street or roadside memorials.

 

Homeland, Sweet Homeland, 2012, is made of cloth, plastic, megaphones, razor wires, feathers, chains and silver spoons.  The “Miranda Rights” which are listed on this work have appeared as a running theme on many of Nari’s works.  The combination of razor wire, megaphones, leather and gold thread with feathers were meant to evoke a kitschy domestic memento and a heraldic government edict.

 

Rock, Booked, Scissor, Vice, 2010, is made of book, rock, scissors and vice.  This exhibit was spawned from a mistake.  When Nari first saw the “Black’s Law Dictionary” as a child he thought there were different law dictionaries for white and black people.  Although his brother corrected, his initial thought stuck with him and inspired his work.    To create this work, Nari cinched the dictionary with a vice, pierced it with scissors and weighted it with a stone.  It is meant to symbolize a violent reenactment of the game “rock, paper, scissors.”  It is meant to represent the seemingly arbitrary application of the law experienced by people in many of the communities in America.

 

Savior, 1996, is made of a shopping cart, plastic garbage bags, cloth, bottles, metal fence, earth, wheel, mirror, chair and clocks.  Nari constructed the sculpture by utilizing the shopping cart, a common item, and using items to bling it up.  In the blue bag you can see clocks.  The sculpture had an accompany video titled, “Pushing Savior.”

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Iron Heavens, 1995, made of metal pans, cotton and wooden bats came from Nari’s observation that the holes dotting the the metal surfaces of certain baking pans look like stars.  Nari collaged pans together on a wall to evoke the night sky.

Nari used baseball bats to form a ground to the heaven above.  The bats were burned, sterilized and had cotton applied to their surfaces.  This was meant to convey violence and healing.  The materials were also used to signify the American South, especially the older south.  The cotton was used to signify slavery as that was the main crop slaves used to pick.  The baseball bats were used to signify the violence many blacks suffered.  The overall arrangement recalls the yard assemblages and sculptural folk traditions of the region.

 

Glory, 2004, consists of an oil barrel, fluorescent and ultraviolet tubes, computer parts, DVD audio recording, Plexiglas, fan, camera casing elements, paint cans, cement, towels and  rubber roofing membrane.

The tanning bed is made out of old oil barrels.  As this work of art was built one year after the Iraq attack, he used the oil barrels represent the political debates over the connection between oil and patriotism.

The oil barrel also signifies the issues related to identity and race.  While in some cultures, a tan is viewed as a mark of leisure and privilege.  However, “pigmentocracy” can ascribe a higher value to lighter skin tones in some societies.

As you stand by the Glory sculpture, you can hear recordings of voices and people talking in hushed tones.

 

Afroochase, 2010, made of ink, a found vinyl banner, cowrie shells, Afro picks and felt weatherstripping is built from a Chase Bank banner that he found mixed with various materials each of which have a symbolic meaning.

The cowrie shell has several possible meanings.  The shell has been used as a form of currency,  It is also used in divination ceremonies in African and North African and South African religious contexts.

Afro picks have been used as a symbol of black cultural identity and the shapes of the particular picks (the raised fist of the Black Power movement) refers to black nationalism and resistance.

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Crusader, 2006, is made of a shopping cart, chandelier, trophy elements, metals, plastic bags and plastic containers.

Crusader has been described as  a radiant poetic work that mixes the personal and political.  Nari used comedy to make a political statement about his feelings concerning the second Gulf War.  Oil plays a central theme in many of his works, evident by the oil canisters in this work.

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Beat Box, made of an old New York City payphone, a drum and a fire extinguisher was made as a way of showing the different ways people have communicated.  The old (the drums which have been used as nonverbal communication in some traditions ) with the modern (the payphone).  After Ward had modified the pay phone he put it back outside where it had originally came from.  Imagine the looks on the people’s faces when they tried to make phone calls!

 

I noticed how Nari likes to incorporate audio and videos into his exhibit.  This is only one example of this.  Those chairs look very comfortable!

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Den, 1999, made of wood, chain-link fence, metal pole, tacks, rug and wooden furniture legs

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Chrysalis, 2010, made of mirror, rope, foam, and a found paper bag

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Vertical Hold, 1996, made of yarn and bottles. This sculpture was made from old, used glass bottles Nari found at a dump site and some bottles he found while he was in residence at a Shaker community in Sabbathday Lake, Maine.  He wove the bottles together with string thus creating a web that he described as a quilt.  This work was inspired by bottle trees, a traditional African, Caribbean and Southern black sculptural form that was believed to protect against evil spirits.

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Canned Smiles, 2013, explores the intersection of art history and identity.  Nari was influenced by another artist, Piero Manzini.  Piero created Merda d’artista (Artist’s Shit) that consisted of 90 small cans labeled with the title that he sold.  The art exhibit by Piero was a sarcastic way of saying that anything that belongs to an artist is worth value.  It also was a commentary about how not all art may have merit.

Ward’s art display aims to question people’s perceived stereotypes and the reality of constructed values.  Nari used the Black Smiles idea to play on the minstrel shows which used to be popular in America during the 19th century.  The work inspires us to ask whether the notion of a smile trapped in a can is any more or less strange than the ideas we construct around identity.

During my visit, the ere was a social gathering on the desk of the museum.  Music, food and refreshments were being served and there were a number of therapy dogs at the event.

A “cuddle zone” was created by visual artist J.R. Uretsky.  The “Cuddle Zone” featured nine therapy dogs from Dog B.O.N.E.S. There was also quilted works for people to use as comfort aids.  You will also some of the dogs wore or sat on these quilted comfort aids.

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Hey, we all can use this kind of therapy!

In fact, the dogs were so popular and in such high demand, I was only able to photograph two of these special dogs.

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Spider is a 5 year old chihuahua.

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Ruby Pearl is a 4 year old pitbull.

Please connect with me on Facebook to view videos, links, articles, photos and other content not included on my blog.  Thank you!


“Sea to Shore: Sculpture Inspired by the New England Seacoast” (Portsmouth, NH)

Dates Of Visits: July 29, 2017 & August 26, 2017

Location: Governor John Langdon House, 143 Pleasant St, Portsmouth, NH

Cost: Free unless you want to photograph the statues inside the Langdon House

Parking: There are several parking lots (notably the free parking lot next to Citizens Bank on Pleasant St) and street parking available throughout the city

Handicapped Accessible: The outdoor exhibits are but the Langdon House is not handicapped accessible.

Dog Friendly: No

Website:

Highlights: sculptures displayed on the grounds of the Langdon House

Tips:

  • You can photograph or view some of the statues outside of the Langdon House.  If you want to view all of them (there are about 20 to 30 more inside the house), you have to pay the admission price to enter the house – I highly recommend paying for the tour even if only so you can view the sculptures inside the house
  • If all the lots are full which is common this time of the year, (free) street parking and some metered parking near the center of town can be found on some of the side streets such as Parrot Ave.
  • All of the sculptures shown in this post are available for sale

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Land meets shore at the latest sculpture exhibit at the Governor John Langdon House in Portsmouth, Hew Hampshire.  The “Sea To Shore” sculpture display currently on display on the grounds and in the Langdon House.

The exhibit, which is on display until October 15, uses stone, metal, wood and other materials from the New England area with many of the themes of the New England seacoast.  The exhibit includes 45 pieces from

This sculpture titled “Fish With Travelers”was made out of granite by stone art enthusiast Thomas Berger. Talk about a fish out of water.

There are 10 more sculptures shown below that are on display on the grounds at the Langdon estate.

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Fisherman by Madeleine Lord made of welded steel.

Backstroker by David Adilman is made of Vermont gray marble.

Flotsam And Jetsam by Morris Norvin made form reclaimed steel barrels.

Serpentine by Irene Fairley made from Vermont marble.

Fragrant Flow by wood artist Jeffrey Cooper made of teak and bluestone.

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Moon Swings by Douglass Gray  made of steel.

Brown Crab by Thomas Berger made of fieldstone.

Urchin Sphere by Karin Stanley made of granite.

Genetically Modified Squid by Thomas Berger made of fieldstone.

Vertical Water” by Karin Stanley was not being displayed when I took the photos of the outdoor sculptures.

Inside the Governor John Langdon House there are many more sculptures.  You have to buy a ticket to view the sculptures (a tour of the house is included…blog post about the tour to follow soon).  I gladly forked over the $15 for the both of us to view them.

There are 34 sculptures displayed in the first floor parlor, hallway and dining areas.

Net by Amanda Sisk is made of mixed media.

Forever Free by Pete Spampinato made of bronze with an alabaster base.  Pete tends to feature animals in his work.  He says he did not begin sculpting until he retired.  He was inspired by the hardships animals had to endure during a trip to Africa.

Colossal Shell Goddess by Lindley Briggs made of resin and apoxie.  Lindley, in contrast to Pete, says her interest in the human figure has been rekindled.  Lindley says, “the boundaries between fantasy, reality and surreality are not necessarily firm.” She enjoys exploring these boundaries in her work.

Carousel Lobster by Jeffrey Briggs is made of fiberglass and resin.  Jeffrey builds carousels of all varieties as well as other works of art.  His latest work can be found at the carousel on The Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston.  He often collaborates with Lindley (the sculptor featured above his sculpture).

Birds Of a Feather by Douglass Gray made of steel.

Gull by Alan Weinstein made of plaster and paint with a granite base.  Alan mainly paints.  But, he has branched out with his sculptures.

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Madonna 3 With Gorilla by Jeffrey Cooper made of cherry wood.  Sounds good enough to eat.

Sirena & Consorts With Sea Of Shells by Lindley Brigss made of apoxie and cast marble.  I especially like how the gorilla appears to be looking at the woman quizzically in the statue in the last photo.

Slaveship HMS Brookes by Martin Ulman made of mixed media.  The 43.5″ high ship sculpture was modeled after the British slave ship, “Brookes.”  The slave ship was used during the 18th century and it was said to carry 484 people, although it carried many more than that according to ship records and stories told by sailors.  The conditions were dreadful as Maya Angelou’s quote expresses.

Neptune by John Vasapoli made of oak.  John says is love of sculptures and his love for music have been the main factors for driving his creative energy.  John has sculpted many statues of iconic musicians and singers such as Miles Davis and Duke Ellington.

Secrets Of The Sea by Nancy Diefenbach is made of marble and glass.  She says her joy is creating one-of-a-kind artworks in marble.  She likes to shape her thoughts through her carvings.

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Water Muse by David Adilman is made of limestone.

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Water Nymph by Elise Adams made of alabaster.  Elise began her career as a sculptor after working 30 plus years as a chiropractor.  Art had always been a love of hers.  But, she was discouraged from following this career path while she was growing up.  I think it’s fair to say we’re all happy she did change her career path.

A Vineyard Excursion by William Bloomfield made of alabaster.  After taking a stone carving course in the 70’s, William says he was hooked.  However, “life got busy” as he put it and he did not take up sculpting until 2006 when he enrolled in some classes at The Chautauqua Institution’s School of Art.  He says that from his initial exposure to stone carving more than 30 years ago he discovered that an essential element of my creative process is to let go of any preconceptions he might have of what the stone might evolve into before I put chisel to stone.

Turtles  by Pete Spampinato made of bronze with an alabaster base.

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Approaching Storm by Judith Morton made of steel and fiberglass.  Judith says she “loves to come face to face with a cold hard block of stone.”  She describes the process of sculpting as a “give and take” until the block of stone is warm and yielding from all of her carving.  She also describes the process as being sensual for both the eyes and the hands.

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Pastry Chef by Susan Neet Goodwin made of clay and multimedia.  Susan says her first piece that included the human face was a response to the Iranian hostage crisis. Since then many of her sculptures have become vehicles for political and humanitarian concerns.  As you may notice by herr other works of art, Susan’s art has a certain theme through it.

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Mermaid With A Trident by Mara Sfara made of bronze and marble.  Mara says her art offers a glimpse into the lives and feelings of the gods and goddesses from Greek mythology.  She also likes to inject humor into her pieces.

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Valley by Danielle Gerber made of copper.  A native of New Hampshire who moved to Maine, Danielle says her body of work is spurred from her love of forming metal and the natural patterns created through water and wind erosion.

Rolling Wave by Judith Morton made of steel, wood and sand.

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Hump  by Derrick Te Paske madde of butternut.  A professor at Framingham State University, Derrick says he is  primarily concerned with theoretical principles and digital production/reproduction methods. His art involves wood and other common tangible materials while employing tools and processes which are decidedly low tech, and results in unique and very physical objects.

Follow Your Dream by Melanie Zibit made of bronze and marble.  Melanie compares the sculpting process as being similar to writing a thoughtful essay or cooking a good meal for those you care about.  She says the process of creating art is like an act of love because you are sharing something deeply personal from one human being to another and sharing something personal spiritual and beautiful.

Circle Sea by Dan Rocha made of wood, metal, metal leaf and plastic.  A Massachusetts resident, Dan has won a number of awards for his works of art.

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Eagle Ray by Irene Fairley made of red Tenneessee marble.

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Eastport Cannery Worker  by Susan Neet Goodwin made of clay and multimedia.

 

Canyon by Danielle Gerber is made of bronze, brass and spray paint.  This sculpture shares the same theme as her other sculpture, Canyon.

Synthesis  by Kathleen Brennan made of hydrocal plaster.  Kathleen has several exhibitions currently on display throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Seahorse Green by Mara Sfara made of lucite and gemstone.

Binocular Beasts by Derrick Te Paske made of cast bronze and glass eyes.

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Aureus Piscari  by Kimberly JB Smith made of multimedia items (it is a 2 sided display).  A resident of New Hampshire, Kimberly is most known for her 2d and 3d compositions that include recycles and repurposed materials.  She uses paint, paper pulp and collage to create traditional and nontraditional materials in her creative process.  When she isn’t creating art, she enjoys teaching and publishing educational articles.

Homer’s Boat With Siren by Dan Rocha made of wood, metal, metal leaf and plastic.

Colossal Shell Goddess by Lindley Briggs made of resin and apoxie.

Wave by Valery Mahuchhy made of resin.  Valery says he knew from an early age he wanted to be a sculptor.  His art is on display all over the world.

Eve On The Beach by Josie Campbell Dellenbaugh made of bronze.  Originally from Albany, NY, Josie is best known for her stone carving.  One of her more prominent carvings is the Monument For Our Native Peoples in West Rutland, Vermont.

 

Heron Annoyed by James Pyne made of composite materials.  A resident of Maine, James focuses on birds in his art.  He describes birds as, “the most beautiful creatures on Earth.”

Dogs are not allowed in the Langdon House.  But, I did see a few dogs while I walked to the house.

This little cutie named Izzie is a 6 year old Havanese.

Today’s featured New England based photographer is Eric Gendron. Based out of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Eric photographs all over the New England area.  But, he primarily shoots in the New Hampshire and Maine area.  What I like most about his photography is that he can take the ordinary, like a park bench for instance, and turn  it into something beautiful and majestic.  You can follow him on Facebook here.

 

 

 

 

 


Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (Brattleboro, VT)

Date Of Visit: August 6, 2017

Location: 10 Vernon Street, Brattleboro, VT

Hours: The galleries are open every day except Tuesdays, 11-5 (closed January 1, July 4, Thanksgiving Day, and December 25). On the first Friday of each month, the galleries stay open until 8:30 p.m., with free admission after 5:30 p.m.

Cost:  $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, $4 for students, free for BMAC members and youth 18 and under. Free admission for all on Thursdays, 2-5 p.m.

Parking: There are about a dozen parking spots in front of the museum and next to the

Handicapped Accessible: BMAC is wheelchair-accessible, and a guest wheelchair is available. Upon request and with advance notice, we will provide an ASL interpreter.

Website: Brattleboro Museum And Art Center

Highlights: the following exhibits: “Free Fall”, “The Boomer List”, “Boundaries, Balance and Confinement”, Spaceship Of Dreams”, “Lost Porches”, “Density & Transparency” are all on display until Oct. 8.

Tips:

  • parking in front of the museum is limited – there is street parking available in the area
  • The art isn’t only in the museum itself: there are additional works of art on the grounds of the entrance to the museum

 

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Have you ever dreamed of spaceships?  Do you ever wonder if a piece of art can be dense and transparent?

Then the  Brattleboro Museum And Art Center is just the place for you.

Brattleboro is a “non-collecting museum.”  So, the exhibits do not stay there permanently and they often switch out exhibits.

Although it is only one floor, technically two if you count the five stairs that lead to the “Spaceship Of Dreams” exhibit, the Brattleboro Museum And Art Center (BMAC) has a wide variety of art to view and appreciate.  The small size of the museum is actually comforting for people like me who can be overwhelmed by museums with a lot of art.  You can certainly look through all of the seven exhibitions currently on display, without rushing, in about an hour or hour and a half.

My favorite exhibit is “Spaceship Of Dreams” by William Chambers.

Formerly titled “Spaceship York”, “Spaceship Of Dreams” began as a window display at a vacant storefront in York, PA.   For two moths during the summer of 2015, William built and displayed this exhibit for all to visit for free.   The “Spaceship York” project culminated with a countdown and blast off day, reports of travel, and return of the ship.

As people began to visit the exhibit, the work of art transformed into more than just a rocket display.  People were able to connect with the artist and the work of art by working on the ship, using the space library and sharing ideas for change in York and the world.   The ship became a metaphor for imagining possibilities and realizing dreams.  Most significant was the chance to write or draw personal visions to be sent up with the ship.  William would incorporate this as well as other family friendly aspects to the exhibit.  It was great to see the messages and drawings the children left to be placed into the ship.

The exhibit is stopping off at the museum as part of its national museum tour.  It will be on display until October 8.

Also on display is the “Density And Transparency” art display by Wolf Khan.

Wolf Kahn, who has macular degenerative, experiments with new methods and materials.  He begins each painting by scrubbing in the basic composition and colors.  Then, he uses a variety of oil sticks to produce bold forms and densely filled, saturated forms colors.

“Scrub, scub, scrub” that is how Wolf describes the process of making this art.  Wolf uses this method to create layers of thinned paint.

Below is a sample of his work.

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Pink Tangle Painting (2007) – oil on Canvas

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Nathalie Miebach’s “Lost Porches” exhibit combines everyday items (such as paperclips). Her sculptures use designs that resemble weather maps and  what she calls “numeral logic.”  Her sculptures are meant to mirror our weather and the unfortunate consequences of some of our extreme weather patterns.  I couldn’t help but think of a weather doppler or meteorological radar screen as I looked at her work (given the earlier mentioned intentions of her art).

This sculpture called, “Build Me A Platform, ” she asked, “high In The Trees, So I May See The Water.”  It is made of wood, paper, string and data.

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She describes this piece as being about four different flooding events that have impacted the Louisiana area since Hurricane Katrina.  This is what makes Nathalie’s work so interesting.  Many of us may not have known there were other flooding events since Katrina.

Nathalie used weather data from each of the flooding events while asking how we can come to terms with and perhaps prevent these flooding events in the future.

The sculpture below titled, “The Last Show Was For The Bleachers.”  This sculpture, completed in 2016, is made of wood, paper, data and string.

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This sculpture is based on an aerial view of the New Jersey/New York shoreline.  The piece translates Hurricane Sandy data.  The domino pieces represent retired hurricanes that are sitting on bleachers, looking on and waiting for Hurricane Sandy to join them on their benches.

The last sculpture titled, “Lost Porches” is meant to represent the front porches which is considered a traditional gathering place for the people in New Orleans.  However, when Hurricane Katrina hit the New Orleans area this important social element was lost for many people.   This sculpture tracks the redevelopment of a small section of the Lower Ninth Ward during the last 10 years.  If you look closely, you may see what looks like houses and other housing structures – without porches.

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I’m always in awe of how artists can make great art of out seemingly ordinary materials.  This is the case with “Boundaries, Balance And Confinement: Navigating The Elements Of Nature And Society”, an art exhibit by Vermont resident Mary Admasian that explores the physical boundaries between objects as well as the implicit boundaries of familial and social covenants and conventions.

Barbed wire is considered the border between the natural world and cultivated land.  Admasian uses barbed wire as a unifying material in her work.  She incorporates barbed wire with feathers, butterflies and branches among other natural materials with manufactured materials.

“The Nest”, completed in 2015, uses goose egg, Vermont birch log and stove trivet in its design.

“Go Cut Yourself A Switch”, also completed in 2015, combines pine plank, willow branches, barbed wire (Of course) and acrylic paint.

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To the left in the photo below is  “Lessons That You Won’t Forget” which combines fencing, barbed wire, willow switches and gold wire.  it was completed in 2015.

Created in 2015, “Dowsing For Center” (to the right in the photo below) is made of maple branch, barbed wire, a rusty metal ring and white paint.

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“The Hive”, completed in 2016, uses barbed wire, powder coating and a rusted steel chain.

“Progression”, from 2015, is a barbed wire and bank plank construct.  Imagine getting spanked with that!

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Mary’s last addition to her exhibit is located outside of the museum, hanging from the eaves of the art museum.

“Weighted Tears” is made of barbed wire, aluminum rods, wire and powder coating.  The five teardrops vary in size and are stabilized by spherical weights.  The smallest form is lit 24 hours a day as a symbol of hope during difficult times.

“Free Fall” is an art display by Barbara Garber.

Barbara says she often starts from a “place of not knowing” when she begins her works of art.  You can see the theme of falling in many of her photos.

Below are Barbara’s paintings that are featured as part of her Free Fall exhibit.

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Ripples, 2017, acrylic and colored pencil on drafting film

Free Fall, 2017, acrylic paint and colored pencil on drafting film

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Out Of The Oven, 2017, acrylic paint and colored pencil on drafting film

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Spin, 2016, acrylic paint and colored pencil on drafting film

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Xocian, 2017, acrylic paint and colored pencil on drafting film

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From Nothing, 2016-2017, acrylic paint and colored pencil on drafting film

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I Don’t Know, 2016, acrylic paint and colored pencil on drafting film

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Notch, 2017, acrylic paint and colored pencil on drafting film

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Upside Down, 2016, acrylic paint and colored pencil on drafting film.

“The Boomer List: Photographs by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders” is a large portrait display of 19 “boomers” who were born between 1946 and 1964.  The 19 photos line the walls of the right hand side of the art museum in an area that seems more like an annex to the museum.   Timothy’s portraits have a short summary of the subjects as well as a short story or a lesson the person has learned.  The portraits are incredible.  While the subjects were certainly posing for the photos they also look remarkably natural.

The people included in the “Boomer List” are listed below:

1946: Tim O’Brien, Vietnam veteran/author
1947: Deepak Chopra, New Age guru
1948: Samuel L. Jackson, actor
1949: Billy Joel, singer/songwriter
1950: Steve Wozniak, co-founder, Apple Computer
1951: Tommy Hilfiger, fashion designer
1952: Amy Tan, author
1953: Eve Ensler, playwright
1954: Julieanna Richardson, The HistoryMakers
1955: Maria Shriver, journalist
1956: Kim Cattrall, actress
1957: Virginia Rometty, CEO, IBM
1958: Ellen Ochoa, director, Johnson Space Center
1959: Ronnie Lott, athlete
1960: Erin Brockovich, environmentalist
1961: Peter Staley, AIDS activist
1962: Rosie O’Donnell, entertainer
1963: David LaChapelle, artist
1964: John Leguizamo, actor

Little known fact (at least to new visitors to the museum): the museum is on the top floor of Brattleboro Train Station. An old ticket counter from the very same train station is located next to the “Spaceship Of Dreams” exhibit.

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Now, an Amtrak train makes stops each day at 1 o’clock and 5 o’clock, backing up traffic for quite some ways.

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As if that wasn’t art for one visit, there are also pieces of art outside of the building as well as decorative flowers and signs on the museum.

“Wrench Bench” is a bench made of cast fiber, resin and oil paint.  It was made by John Tagiuri.

“Land Lift”, made by Vermont-based Bob Boemig, is made of turf, steel and stone.

IMG_8136Located in between the Brattleboro Museum and the Marlboro College Graduate School, the Sculpture Garden has two rock displays.  A sign on the wall of the museum indicates the garden is dedicated to the memory of Dan Freea.

Today’s featured link is a link to a post about an exhibit by Chris Page that was displayed at the museum last year called “Eyes Toward Heaven.”  I wish I could have seen this in person!

 


Buttonwood Farm (Griswold, CT)

 

Date Of Visit: July 22, 2017

Location: 473 Shetucket Turnpike, Griswold, CT

Cost: Free

Hours:

March 1 – October 30

Current Hours
Mon – Fri
 12pm–9pm
Sat – Sun 11:30am–9pm

Parking: There are about 50 parking spots in the parking lot.  When they are busy, you can park on the side of the busy street (as I had to)

Handicapped Accessible:

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: ice cream shoppe, sunflowers (seasonally), family friendly, cows

Website: Buttonwood Farm

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Once the site of a dairy farm, Buttonwood Farm is so much more now.  Not only do they have a sunflower garden with a maze and a famous ice cream shoppe, they also are the site of one of the more popular charity events each year.

Funny thing is I didn’t find one button the entire time I was there.

During my visit, the sunflowers were in bloom and Buttonwood Farm was holding a fundraiser for their Sunflowers For Wishes charity.

 

 

The dirt trails in the sunflower maze are easy to navigate.  The path is only about half a mile long.  Due to the showy outer ray petals of the sunflowers, bees and other insects, like this beetle, are attracted to the nectar and pollen.

 

 

In addition to the sunflowers, people (big and small) could ride their cow train or tractor tour.  All proceeds, of course, went to the charity.

 

 

At the end of the sunflower maze, there is a hill on a short incline where you can view the sunflowers.

 

There were also some performers at the top off the hill.  A man was playing music and there was a local painter, Jacqueline Jones, who was preparing to paint the sunflower garden.

 

Since it was a charity event, there were charitable organizations like the “Make A Wish” foundation.  They had my dream car there!

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The cows at Buttonwood are so docile and beautiful.

 

Sunflowers aren’t just for people.  Dogs also like to walk along the sunflower maze.

 

Tunken (on the left) is an 8 year old Chocolate Lab mix and Duncan (On the right) is a 3 legged Harrier, fox and hound mix

 

Alie is a 12 year old Mini Pinscher.

 

Ian is a 5 month old Golden Retriever who is in training to be a service guide dog.

Below is a video of the maze at the sunflower garden.  What struck me is, despite the large crowd that was there, how peaceful and quiet the place seemed.  It seems like a wonderful place to go and just have some peace and quiet.

Today’s featured website is Jacqueline Jones’ Paintings From The Open Air.  Jackie was painting a portrait of the sunflower garden during my visit.  You can find her painting of the sunflower garden on her website.

Based out of New Haven, CT, Jackie specializes in painting the nature of the New England area.  She also enjoys painting in other areas outside of New England such as the Colorado and New York areas.  Jackie has also won a variety of awards and has studied with some of the accomplished artists in the New England area.

 


Tom Fiorini Sculpture Garden (Lenox, MA)

Date Of Visit: May 31, 2017

Location: Behind Joane Cornell Jewelry Store (63 Church St, Lenox, MA)

Hours: Art is available for viewing 24 hours

Cost: Free to view (unless you want to buy something)

Parking:  Free street parking is available on Church St (although it may have time limits).  There is also a parking lot on Franklin St that you may use for short term parking.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: Variety of unique art and decorative items made by New England artist Tom Fiorini

Website: Tom Fiorini – Sculptor

Tom Fiorini Facebook

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You interested in a doghouse covered with license plates?  (dogs sold separately)

How about a some carved fish? (at least you don’t need to feed them or buy a tank for them)

Perhaps you’re looking for boat?  I’m just not sure if she is sea-worthy.

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Tucked away behind the Joane Cornell Jewelry store at 63 Church St, Lenox, MA (at least for now), Tom Fiorino’s art, sculptures and other unique items offer an unusual brand of decorative items.

Tom Fiorini is not your orthodox artist.  He works mainly with metals and often times his choice of tool is a chainsaw.  Much of his art is made of normal, everyday materials reshaped and manufactured into a completely different.

Tom’s signs, with their offbeat slogans and designs, may be the highlight of his collection.

Tom also uses his creativity to make his art and create arrtful designs.

I don’t know about you but sometimes I could really use this really big bottle of wine.

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Other miscellaneous works of art are scattered around the lawn.

As you can see by his art, Tom has a great sense of humor.

Also, his prices may be negotiable based on the sign below.

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For now, Tom’s work can be viewed at the address listed above on Church St.  I am not sure where he stores his sculptures during the winter season.  You can contact him at his website listed above for more information.  Below is more information about him and his art.

Keeping with today’s theme of outdoor art, today’s New England featured link is the deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum in Lincoln, MA.  I’ve yet to go there.  But, it is definitely on my list.