Windswept at the Berkshire Botanical Garden
On the grounds of one of the oldest botanic gardens in the country, an exhibit that interacts with breezes large and small welcomes garden visitors this summer. Windswept is as multifaceted as the garden itself, which is located in Stockbridge, Massachusetts on fifteen cultivated acres and includes three greenhouses.
Jim LaPaso has been creating dynamic, wind-influenced sculptures for much of his life. He particularly enjoys using found objects, such as the stainless steel ladles incorporated into graceful designs such as the one included here, which handsomely catches sunlight as it moves in the breeze.
Seen from a distance, Suzanne Heilmann’s “Memorialized in White” reflects light and wind in a dramatic fashion—irregular white shapes flying on two contiguous laundry lines against the rich dark greens of distant woodland draw the viewer to the garden’s far edge. Upon closer inspection, we appreciate the artist’s choices — both visually and symbolically—a worn denim jacket, a child’s cotton socks, assorted women’s wear of another era. Their stiff, shiny surfaces flap gently, inspiring contemplation of their individual details– as well as the implications of their strange preservation.
Richard Griggs began in theater sets and lighting, but following a catastrophic bicycle accident, he moved back to Connecticut from the west coast, and came under the influence of kinetic sculptor, Tim Prentice; both artists are represented in this show. Griggs’ creates lyrical moving pieces of many parts that often echo natural objects, and can remind us of more mundane“mobiles”—while most definitely transcending them.
In 2000, The New York Times said of Tim Prentice “His works are pleasurable and meant to be surprising in the straightforward sense that hard materials are used to create soft, fluid, complex movement.” Normally exhibited indoors where they require fans to instigate movement, the location of his ” Yellow Zinger” here under a row of tall pine trees is delightfully self-sustaining.
Jeff Kahn made jewelry and worked in mechanical and carpentry shops before arriving at his current avocation. On his website, he states that he “wanted to create sculptures that moved naturally, free from wires, lights and technology.” He has succeeded doing this, rather marvelously, as exemplified by the stately, “Wind Shear” which can be viewed from multiple vantage points in the garden.
The exhibit is free with the price of general admission and will continue through October 1st. All pieces are available for purchase; a portion of the proceeds benefits the garden.
Article copyright by Alice McGowan written for http://www.hartley-greenhouses.com