Posts in Exhibit
Outdoor Art at Shelburne Museum

Movement is critical for getting into the moment, for being of a time and in a place. Perhaps the best thing an artist can offer a viewer is the chance to become a little more aware of themselves. Outdoor art spaces hold the potential for that to happen.

A recent special event at the Shelburne Museum drew a large crowd on a perfect summer evening. I was there to welcome visitors to Fantasy Topography, my temporary, environmental art installation in a pine grove on the grounds. It was great to see lots of people walking around and in the sculpture. Many thanks to those who stopped by to chat, and to the staff for all they do to make an enjoyable time for those attending the museum’s once-a-month, Free Friday.

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Art in the Balance

To be in touch and in tune with nature has a centering effect on us. Couple the outdoors with a creative pursuit, and engagement with both is enriched because together they sharpen and heighten our spatial orientation. My environmental art piece Fantasy Topography seeks to bring pleasure to the core.

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Rocky Toppers

The studio has been filling up with rocky toppers this winter. The half-products are elements in a sculpture to be installed as part of a new outdoor exhibition at Shelburne Museum. The uniquely shaped objects will be arranged atop berms of loose stone. The completed piece will sprawl across the floor of a pine forest, flowing between and around the tree trunks.

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Stone Clouds

“Permanent” is one adjective I associate with my dry stone constructions. When I was asked to make a temporary installation on the grounds of the Shelburne Museum for the upcoming “Eyes on the Land” exhibition, some very different affiliations sprang to mind. And so, as I became acquainted with the Vermont Land Trust properties in the Mettawee Valley that I was partnered with for the show, I sought out examples of land formation and land use that might be described as “short term”.

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Markku Hakuri and Friends at Kerava - Goodbye to the Hole In The Universe (Reika Avaruudessa)

Sculptor Markku “The General” Hakuri marshaled a merry band of art lovers in the destruction of the pieces he exhibited in the Kerava Art Museum this summer. The closing ceremony of the show included a parade of dismantled sculpture parts and their burning in a bonfire. After the fire died down we proceeded to tumble my sculpture “Wishing Wells”. From its conception, my piece was destined to be removed at the end of the show, so, we had a fun time pulling out stones and watching the well walls cascade to the ground. Most delightful was the musical sound made by the downpour of cobbles.

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Lillehammer Art Museum Sculptured Garden

Continuing on the subject of sculpture gardens, here’s a nice example I saw yesterday outside the Art Museum in Lillehammer, Norway. Created in 1992 by Bard Breivik, the sculptured garden is a cascade of stone and water. It begins serenely on flat ground at the height of the space. There, a screen of vertical granite slabs encloses a dry courtyard, a green lawn is bisected by a flagstone path, and the water course begins by spilling from a granite monolith into a long, stone trough. The water descends in multiple streams through a series of channels to a reflecting pool at the bottom of a steep rockery. Breivik’s sculptured garden is a good example of art that interprets nature without imitating it.

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The Kerava Art Museum - Reika Avaruudessa

The trees in the parks of Helsinki were beginning to show signs of awakening from their winter sleep when I arrived here early May. Today, my last day in Finland on this trip, they are flush with lush green leaves. I leave behind good friends, old and new. It’s been an exciting few weeks of city life. The Kerava Art Museum exhibition is now open to the public until August 28 when the artist’s pieces will be dismantled and moved, or recycled. I’m pleased with the way my two works came out. ‘L.E.M.’ is the small stone and steel construction displayed inside the museum in partnership with Tristan Hamel’s silk-paper globe. Outside, ‘Wishing Wells’ invites museum-goers and passer-by’s to walk through and around its canyons and cavities.

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Hole in the Universe

Below is the gist of my presentation for the artist’s seminar that preceded the opening of the show at Kerava Art Museum yesterday. The title and theme for this exhibition is ‘Hole in the Universe’. I don’t know how it sounds in Finnish but the word ‘hole’, in English, can be heard as ‘whole’; with a ‘w’. So the title, when spoken, can be interpreted in two ways. Both are interesting concepts to ponder, and respond to by making art. A hole can be a void, a container or a passage way. To become whole in the universe, complete in mind, body and soul, is perhaps the ultimate artists’ quest.

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Art Making: Process Practice Patience

The techniques used to set stones in relation to one another can be varied. The sizes and shapes of the stones in any supply are often the final determining factor in the design of a dry stone structure. The supply limits the possibilities, focusing the process of design on what is doable. Limits actually increase the potential for a successful outcome. By first assessing the qualities of the available stone, a more ornamental or contemporary design might be considered and pursued.

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Kerava Art Museum - Dry Stone Sculpture Emerging

The dry stone sculpture rising out of the lawn outside Kerava Art Museum is beginning to attract local attention. People on their way to work are slowing down as they pass. Some stop and ask what’s happening. I learned through a student interpreter that one fellow said he liked seeing natural stone being used, that every one has a unique and beautiful shape. The people of Finland are surrounded by rock. Even in central Helsinki, bedrock outcrops are everywhere. Stone is only surpassed by forest and water in defining the nature of the landscape, and the psyche of the Finns.

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Sculpture Making at Kerava Art Museum

The first full day of sculpture making at Kerava Art Museum brought one form to completion. Because this is a temporary exhibit, I’m building directly on the lawn grass. The granite pebbles and cobbles are easy to handle and a nice change of pace from heavy lifting, even though I do have to spend most of the day on my knees.  Their smoothness makes them a bit slippery. I wouldn’t recommend using them this way for a permanent construction. This type of arrangement is like making a big ring cake out of small potatoes. Thanks to students Lauri, Hannah and Iisa for set-up assistance. And to Jenni M. for stone shifting.

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Sourcing Stone in Finland

Yesterday, Professor Markku Hakuri took me for a train and bus ride to check out the site for my installation at the Kerava Art Museum​​​​​​​. This morning I went ten miles outside of Helsinki to a look at gravel pit. A ‘tailings’ pile I found there has the right ingredients for making a piece that combines twelve hollow cones into a mound shape. Because a group of university art students will be helping me, it’s important that the stones be easily shifted and lifted by hand, and the cones and mound be definable with lines and guide frames. This afternoon I made a 3-D sketch in clay of the design I’ve been working on in my head for the past couple of days.

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