PITTSFIELD >> To spin and to climb will delight for sculptors in "Modern Wings and Shaker Roots," a contemporary Shaker art exhibit opening May 30 Hancock Shaker Village.
An NEA grant will support artists to create work in response to the site, the landscape and the spare, clean-lined Shaker aesthetic, said Lesley Herzberg, curator at the village. They will work with themes of resource, re-use and recycling, identifying with the land.
To choose these four, she has worked with guest curator Maureen Benden, executive director of the Guilford Arts Center in Guilford, Conn., and former director at Storm King At Center and sculpture park in Windsor, N.Y.
John Brooks, a New Hampshire sculptor and woodworker, has worked with Shaker design since he left the u.S. for a residency in Tasmania, Herzberg said. From that remove he lookedback at American furniture, spindle-inflected chair frames. In his new work he has taken up the metaphor of the ladder, of climing, ascending to the skies.
He will build his ladder to heaven,"Mover and Shaker," up the outside wall of the machine shop, she said, and he will harvest saplings from the woods around the village. The natural wood undulates with the growth of the young trees.
On the village grounds, Fritz Horstman, a younger sculptor working with reclaimed construction materials has chosed to work with the shapes in the design of the Round Stone Barn, Herzberg said. The two highest lefels, the clerestory and the cupula, have different geomentric shapes — one an octagon and one a tetradecagon (8- and 14-sided). He will bring these geometric forms into a poured concrete structure of his own.
Moving indoors, Christina La Sala will blend ideas of time, work and worship in "Measured Intention."
She has taught herself how to spin, Herzberg said, creating a film about the craft and her adventures in learning it, and she will weave a backdrop to act as a screen for the film in a kind of shadow theater.
She will give an artist talk on May 30 to open the summer. Hancock has also partnered with the Gladys Allan Brigham Center in Pittsfield to work with the young students in its programs, and La Sala will work closely with them.
And in the meeting House Dennis Maher will bring 19th-century living spaces to life in the 21st. Based in Buffalo, N.Y., Maher works in collage or assemblage, Herzberg said. He invents home spaces. At Hancock he has imagined two families, two home spaces and the stories they tell about the people who live there, and will assemble them with materials from the Hancock Shaker collection. He will set up these story rooms in the Meeting House and invite visitors to move across 200 years.