Sculpture in the trees at Chesterwood

Thursday August 30, 2012

STOCKBRIDGE -- As summer turns toward fall, art peppers the woods in the Con temporary Sculpture at Ches ter wood 2012 exhibition.

Each season, Chesterwood curates a show of contemporary sculpture on the grounds around the house and studio of Daniel Chester French, sculptor of the Lincoln Memorial.

"A guest curator, or in the case of this year two guest curators, jury the exhibition," said Anne Cathcart, curatorial assistant at Chesterwood.

Cameron M. Shay, director of Graham Gallery in New York, and Priscilla V. Caldwell, director of DC Moore in Chelsea, curated this year's Con tem porary Sculp ture Show. In the guest curators' essays, Shay and Caldwell explain that they were drawn to Frederick Law Olmsted's "revolutionary ap proach to landscape design at Chesterwood.

"(He) sought to emphasize the qualities inherent to a native landscape," the curators wrote.

They asked artists for site-specific work that would "take into consideration the acreage surrounding the home studio and grounds."

This season's show takes visitors along a path through woods and fields, past 24 sculptures by 20 artists. Visitors can enjoy the mystery of each piece in quiet and reflect on it themselves, or tap into an audio tour by cell phone to hear each artist's reasoning behind the work.

Calling in for the first sculpture, "Tea Pot Totem," by Steph en Fabrico, visitors will hear his voice explain that teapots bring comfort and joy to the many cultures of the world. He has created more than 500 teapots in the more than 30 years he's been making them.

"The sculpture that stands before you is what I consider my tribute to the simple and understated teapot of the world," he says.

Most of the sculptures have settings in the woods, and each seems to fit well into the damp, sun-flecked atmosphere of a forest. The geometric shapes cut into the natural beauty of the space almost seamlessly, generating an appreciation for the complexity of the artwork and the complexity of the trees, the sky and the earth.

Kate Kaman and Joel Er land's "Everpink," a shocking pink pine tree, stands out among the never-ending green space.

Cathcart said at the opening ceremony, the guest curators awarded Kaman and Erland the Lillian Heller Curator's Award, an endowed award.

For visitors who want to view the sculpture show as well as the rest of the grounds, including French's Studio and house, Cathcart suggests taking two hours or more to fully experience the exhibit.

"For me one of the great things about Chesterwood is it's a place that invites contemplation be cause it's so bucolic and peaceful," she said. "Even when there are a lot of people here, it can still feel like a little bit of an oasis even within the Berk shires."

At the end of the walk, visitors can cast votes for the Viewers' Choice Award in the Barn Gal lery. The artist whose sculpture receives the most votes at the end of the show will earn a prize.

Visitors Barry Levitt and Jo anne Classick came to visit Ches terwood for the first time in the half dozen years they've visited the Berkshires from India napolis, Ind. Levitt said they started in Stock bridge this time around.

"We wanted to (entertain) curiosity," Classick said as they made their way to tour the grounds.

What: Contemporary Sculpture

Where: Chesterwood,
4 Williamsville Road, Stockbridge

When: Through Columbus Day

Artists in the show: Rachel Beach, William Brayton, Jamie Calderwood, Ursula Clark, Austin Collins, Peter Dellert, Stephen Fabrico, Allen Glatter, Philip Grausman, Cathrin Hoskinson, Kate Kaman and Joel Erland, Iain Machell, Roger Phillips, Tim Prentice, Robert Schechter, Kaete Brittin Shaw, Jonathan Waters, Gregory Whyte, Michael Yefko

Information: (413) 298-3579,


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