LENOX — The vast and lush grounds of Edith Wharton's country estate were once again brimming with visitors and multifaceted sculptures as The Mount and SculptureNow kicked off their fifth year of collaboration with a free opening celebration and grand reception on Sunday, June 11, for "Nexus."
"Nexus," an outdoor sculpture exhibition built around the theme of `the nexus' — the connecting point of two or more ideas, concepts or things, features the work of 30 artists.
Sunday's celebration showcased the diligent work of artists hailing from New York to New Mexico and from around the Berkshires. Sculptures on exhibit range in price from $3,000 to $32,000.
Over 300 guest were lined up for the day's festivities on Sunday, where a vivacious group of friends, with homes in both New York and Lee, was seen sauntering towards the Carriage House.
"This place is always wonderful to come to and I'm looking forward to it," said Stephen Sariego, in regards to the event, which he was attending with his wife, Susan Sariego, as well as Jack and Sheila Gladstein and Nancy and Ira Baumel.
Among those greeting guests with programs with illustrated maps, artists statements and guides to the sculptures, were Public Programming Assistant Rebecca McBrien, volunteer Sarah Tyler and Public Program Coordinator Abbie Wilson.
"We are so happy to have such a great event and see such a thrilled and happy crowd." Wilson said.
Susan Wissler, executive director of The Mount and SculptureNow's Executive Director Ann Jon welcomed the crowds of visitors. Jon began the program by explaining how the 18-year-old organization installed the individual pieces.
"We spent three to four days siting each sculpture; looking at light and surroundings so the pieces would be `seen.' We did our best to accommodate the artists in their personal requests."
She added, "These artists have come from many different parts of the country, some of them are famous and have their works in museums and collections all over the world; others are on their way."
The exhibiting artists are: Nancy Winship Milliken, James Kitchen, Harold Grinspoon, Coral Penelope Lambert, Lydia Musco, James N. Burnes, Michael Thomas,Philip Marshall,Lucy Hodgson, Madeleine Lord, Joseph Carpineto, Peter Barrett, Chris Plaisted, Setsuko Winchester, Martina Angela Muller, Matt Crane, Ann Jon, William Carlson, Murray Dewart, Christopher Curtis, Dove Bradshaw, Colleen O'Donnell, Robin Tost, David Teeple, Stuart Farmery, Gary Orlinsky, William Brayton, Eric Stein, Jacque Metheny, and Roe Osborn.
Prior to the start of the guided tours, the guests were divided into 4 groups to maximize the viewing potential. The tour guides included Jon, Wissler, SculptureNow board member artist Michael Thomas and artist Gary Orlinsky.
Under sunny skies guests filed into their groups and were led to each art piece where the exhibiting artists stood ready to explain their inspiration and answer questions about their pieces.
Artist Lydia Musco described her piece, "Stack C" as "a marker of time and memory." The sculpture was cast in wet concrete with separate sheets of plastic between each layer. The plastic sheets were removed after drying.
Artist James Burnes, of New Mexico, created "9 Piece Ring," which he described as creating a portal.
Thomas built "Biomorphic" out of bright red steel he describes as "An undulating, sensual, and playful organic form, often encountered on the periphery of the natural world."
Artist Setsuko Winchester crafted "Yellow Peril," 120 hand pinched tea bowls that traveled to the 10 U.S. internment camps where 120,000 Japanese-Americans were imprisoned during World War II.
"I love this event! It gets bigger every year and it's beauty in the Berkshires!, said State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, who delivered the opening remarks at the reception on The Mount's Terrace.
During the reception, guests dined on hors d'oeuvres, decadent desserts and wine, while mingling under clouds of white tents.
"It's just a wonderful experience between the sculptures and the guests. Every time there is great admiration," Don Temples, The Mount's Director of Development said.
Before the end of the evening, Jon grabbed her microphone and began a round of toasts, toasting guests, the artists, the board members, the staff at the Mount, and the donors. In her final salute, Jon said, ""Let's raise our glasses to art and nature!"
The SculptureNow exhibition will remain on view at The Mount through Oct. 31.