A paper plane, a secret place in the woods and a life-size chessboard are some of the creative interpretations of Carving Studio’s famous SculptFest this year.
In some cases, it’s hard to figure out what you’re watching without some basic information, but that’s art. This makes it even more interesting when peeking under the influence of information.
SculptFest runs through October 23 with an opening reception, 5-8 p.m., Saturday, September 10, themed “Games.”
The Carving Studio and Sculpture Center will also celebrate its 35th anniversary this year, surviving two years of COVID.
“It’s a place of learning, an educational center,” said Executive Director Carol Driscoll. “(Artists) envision larger concepts, and expression comes through art. To put that kind of energy into an object, it takes a lot of discipline, commitment, and belief about what you’re doing.
“It’s up to the artists to interpret this theme,” she added, and called this year’s sculptures and submissions “really solid submissions.”
Curator Evan Morse said: “In choosing the ‘Games’ theme, I wanted something that artists could have fun with (as well as visitors) but which could also apply to a range of concepts or messages under -lyings. If there was one specific thing I was looking for in submissions, it was the possibility of a deeper meaning or intent of the work, beyond the literal object.
Artist Samantha Newman, who interned and exhibited at the Carving Studio last year, as well as this year, submitted a piece titled “Taking Flight,” a paper plane carved out of marble.
“My work…is a two-tonne sculpture of a crashed paper airplane in Danby Marble,” she explained via email. “Thinking about the ‘Games’ theme for this year’s SculptFest 2022, I was first inspired by the joy I felt as a child making paper airplanes. It’s one of those timeless childhood activities recognizable across generations and cultures.”
“I was also interested in the irony of creating a flying object out of a material as heavy and flightless as stone,” Newman added. “For me, this piece captures both the wonder of youth and the weight of adulthood. I just graduated…so this heavy flight into unknown territory is vividly felt… and I am delighted to leave such an important work for me in a place that I love so much.
On Sunday morning, Driscoll unboxed Ohio artist Haley Kean’s piece on shadow puppets: a large, dark blue quilt that, when you look closely, tells a story.
“They’re shadow puppets,” Driscoll explained for the individual squares. “It’s his hand.” And the colors Kean has chosen give it “that graphic punch”.
“SculptFest’s theme of ‘Games’…immediately brings to mind games of love and relationship,” Kean wrote in his project proposal. “I happened to capture (a) moment of stolen intimacy between my mum and dad – they were casting shadow puppets with their hands on the wall.”
This inspired her to create a patterned quilt based on their interaction. “I created a narrative that…displays that fleeting moment of romance,” Kean said. She called the functional 6-by-4-foot piece “an object of comfort.”
Massachusetts’ Melissa Shaak has found a suitable hidden spot in the woods for her play, “Ollie Ollie In Free,” based on the children’s game that will show about half a dozen silhouettes of people hiding or running.
Artist Laurie Sheridan created ‘Endgame’ with a giant chessboard and 4-foot-tall playing pieces – “it’s not really pawns or kings or queens, it’s his minifigure making,” said Driscoll.
And Phil Whitman, who teaches at Castleton University, created a piece that Driscoll described as similar to a hockey goal. “It’s a game he’s really passionate about and it kind of tells the game.”
Whitman said via email, “I originally created this piece in 2005. …It was inspired by painted ‘Score-O’ signs I’d seen growing up, attending football games minor league hockey where, between periods, they would put this painted plywood board with a hole in front of the goal, and the fans would come down on the ice to try to throw a puck and win a car or something.
“I’ve always been interested in the intersections of sporting and military history, and the pageantry and violence associated with both,” he added. “So I made my own ‘Score-O’ boards, basically paintings on plywood the same size as hockey goals, which could theoretically be placed in front of a goal. (But I’ve never set it up that way.)”
“Fast forward about 15 years, and now I’m a parent of two kids who play hockey at Rutland. When I saw the call for artists for this “Games” show, I remembered that I had this piece in my barn and had it out and fixed it up a bit. I used my kids hockey goal as part of the setup and was really happy with how it looked on a white marble slab. This allowed me to have the “Score-O Board” actually attached to the hockey goal, but raised to the height that a spectator would typically look at a painting on the wall in a gallery. My son Gib helped me set it up at Carving Studio, so it was pretty cool, having him help me finish a piece that started way before he was born,” Whitman said.
These are just examples of what will be on display, and Morse said, “I deliberately chose a broad prompt to encourage various submissions. They are a good mix of approaches, both in form and in concept. I’m excited to see all the finished pieces in person and see how they complement each other.
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