Views on Art provides a forum for vibrant voices within the arts community at Grounds For Sculpture and beyond. The blog, explores the national and international arts scene, and is coordinated by Christina Ely, former Curator of Education at Grounds For Sculpture. It includes contributions from the Grounds For Sculpture staff and volunteers, as well as from the arts community at large.
by Cassandra Demski, Curator of Education
Artist Ming Fay will create a site-specific installation for Grounds For Sculpture that will open this May. His work will be the inaugural exhibition in the newly designed East Gallery inside the Seward Johnson Center for the Arts. This is sure to be a stunning creation in this new space!
Ming Fay was born in Shanghai and raised in Hong Kong. In the 1950s, Ming Fay came to the United States to study art, which resulted in a MFA from the University of California, Santa Barbara. In addition to being a working artist, Ming Fay currently teaches sculpture at William Paterson University in New Jersey.
This January, several GFS staff members were invited to visit Ming Fay’s two studios. The first stop on our adventure was Ming Fay’s studio in New York City. The volume of work in this studio is astounding! Pieces are scattered on the floor, on tables, hung on the walls and even on shelves near the ceiling. All of his art has an organic, natural theme that wholly permeates his body of work. Many pieces are incredibly realistic; larger-than-life-size fruits and vegetables, including pears, cherries and my favorite: bright red chili peppers. Other works are displayed as mobiles, with long curving branches connected and dangling translucent shapes evoking leaves and plants. Ming Fay was a gracious host who served us all green tea. Thank you Ming!
Next, we loaded into our van and traveled to his second studio space in New Jersey. Although the first studio is spacious by New York City standards, it is small in comparison to his space in Jersey City which is located in a building being transformed into a self-contained, urban artist colony in which many different artists rent space. Ming Fay’s studio has great natural light from a wall of large windows and a high ceiling that provides the perfect atmosphere for his sculptural installations. Near the entryway is a large work hanging from the ceiling and forming almost a wall. This sculpture is comprised of branches, resin castings and various other objects. Ming Fay said that he is always creating and that he works in both studios; this studio, however, seems to be bursting with creativity. Small figures of humans and horses made of wire and then coated in spray foam shared space with pears and other fruit.
As a professor, Ming Fay is a great speaker who was willing to answer all our questions about his process and to provide us with a tour of both spaces. Despite enjoying great success, Ming Fay is very personable and easy to talk to. Since his work is so site specific, it is hard to know what his piece at Grounds For Sculpture will be. I am certainly excited to find out!
For more information, please visit mingfay.com
By Jenn Korolenko, Education Assistant
Workshops and so much more at Grounds For Sculpture: January 2012
Spark your inspiration this winter at GFS by taking a workshop or attending one of our demonstrations! Here’s what we are offering to kick off 2012…
Thursday, January 5th
Wonders of Winter Photography Workshop
Dates: Thursdays: 5, 12, 19, 26
Discover the beauty of Grounds For Sculpture in winter! Learn the elements of composition, critiquing, and tried and true techniques for taking stunning landscape photographs. Each session of this four-week workshop includes both classroom time and outdoors photographing, weather permitting. Please dress appropriately. An SLR or digital camera is required. Open to students of all skill levels. Instructor: Sally Davidson and Larry Parsons.
$60 Members; $70 Non-members.
Saturday, January 7th
Transforming Books into Art: Altered Books Workshop
Make a used book a personal work of art at this one-day workshop taught by an area artist who specializes in book arts, handmade papers, and printmaking. Consider the book as your canvas and explore how to use painting, stamping, and collage to create something truly unique. Books and art materials are included in the registration cost. Students may personalize their book with photos and small decorative items from home. Instructor: Kathleen Lang Metaxas.
$110 Members; $120 Non-members.
Tuesday, January 10th
Dates: Tuesdays: January 10, 17, 24
Vinyasa yoga is a movement-oriented style of yoga. Each pose moves to the next – guided by your breathing. It is fun and easy to begin and creates strength, flexibility and a connection to a peaceful mind. These workshops are designed for students of all abilities, from the beginner to the advanced. This three-week class, taught by Instructors from the Prancing Peacock Yoga Studio, will incorporate meditation techniques and using breath to coordinate movement and body alignment. Please bring a yoga mat, blanket or towel and water.
$40 Members; $50 Non-members.
Wednesday, January 11th
Faux Plein-Air Watercolors Workshop
Date: Wednesdays: January 11, 18, 25 and February 8, 15, 22
Plein-air roughly translates to “in the open air” and traditionally means paintings that are made outdoors. The ability to distill quickly what you observe and paint in a simple manner will lead to plein-air style success. Although this six-session class will take place indoors, students will use the stunning vistas upon Grounds For Sculpture’s landscape from our many buildings for subjects and inspiration. So come imagine it in the height of summer and learn to use watercolors to paint in plein-air style.Materials are included in the registration fee. Instructor: Gail Bracegirdle.
$215 Members; $235 Non-members
Saturday, January 14th
Paper Cutting in Chinese Style
Time: 11am and 12pm
Learn the basics of paper cutting from master paper cutter Hou-Tien Cheng, whose astounding work is featured in the Education Gallery. In each of our two 45-minute sessions, adults will learn the basics of using paper cutting scissors and practice a variety of techniques under the expert guidance of the artist. Then watch in awe as he creates nearly anything you can imagine in a matter of seconds. Registration fee is per session, per person. Instructor: Hou-Tien Cheng.
$15 Members; $20 Non-members.
Saturday, January 28th
Light, Shadow and Form in Photography Lecture and Workshop
Designed for photographers who have a basic understanding of how their camera operates and are now looking for something more, this workshop will teach you to see your favorite subjects in a new way by understanding how light and shadow define them. Learn how to see the quality and quantity of light as it relates to shadow and composition. Discussion and demonstration will refer to photographing people, pets, flowers, close-ups, landscapes, architecture, and travel subjects. Instructor: Nancy Ori.
$60 Members; $65 Non-members
Saturday, January 14th
Chinese Calligraphy Demonstration
***Free with park admission***
Observe master calligrapher Michael Shiue as he demonstrates the movingly beautiful traditional art of Chinese calligraphy. Using only rice paper, brush pens, and Chinese ink, Shiue will astound and transfix you with this ancient Chinese art form.
Sunday, January 22nd
Ice Sculpture Demonstrations
***Free with park admission***
Let the chips fall where they may! Watch as a group of astounding artists carve super-hot sculptures from frigid blocks of ice. All true masters of this craft, you’ll be amazed at what they create and how they create it!
For the kids…
Saturday, January 7th and January 21st
Tots on Tour!
Time: 11am and 1pm
Bring your toddler to learn about sculpture through hands-on activities. Listen to a story, become park explorers, and make original works of art. Rain or shine! Lesson and theme change monthly. Instruction designed to meet learning needs of 3-5 year olds. Children ages 3-5 (only) must be accompanied by an adult. Space is limited and on a first-come, first-serve basis. Meets in the Visitor’s Center. Instructor: Joslyn Johnson.
***Free with park admission.***
By Elizabeth Berkowitz, Coordinator of Volunteer Services
November 10, 2011 – American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland
We had perfect weather for our first trip to Collegeville, Pa. last month, with a warm sunny day that was perfect for the walking tour of Ursinus’ outdoor sculptures and the lovely town of Skippack, Pa. for lunch. While our trip to Baltimore, Maryland did not have “perfect” weather, we did have a perfect day.
Fog greeted us at the parking lot of the AMC 24 movie theaters in Hamilton and followed us most of the way to Maryland. There, the sun peeked out for a bit and the wind kicked up but that was short lived. By the time we reached the American Visionary Art Museum it was again overcast and threatening to rain…perfect timing!
We were greeted by a toothbrush welcome mat, and were soon on our tour of “AVAM.” It is indeed one of visionary art. One piece was a huge ball of bras, 18,000 of them, wound like a ball of rubber bands and each had a tale behind it. Some of them were displayed above the ball; they told of nursing bras, of women fighting breast cancer and even included a photo of a pig using a bra for a hat!
Onward now, through the museum to visit a model of the Lusitania made from 193,000 (or more) toothpicks and another toothpick sculpture that depicted many attractions in San Francisco. All of those toothpicks came from special occasions and were used by the artist!
We saw sculptural capes knitted by developmentally challenged artists, as well as a quilt depicting many aspects of the Hebrew Calendar handcrafted by a Rabbi whose family had wanted her to go into medicine. Each piece had a unique narrative, not unlike the stories about the works that we here at GFS share with our patrons.
Our guides at AVAM were eager to share ‘their’ art with us. They had a lot to share but, unfortunately, we had a schedule to keep!
Lunch was on our own; some braved the elements and wandered off towards the Inner Harbor a few blocks away while others stayed to enjoy the museum restaurant fare. After lunch we poked through the Sideshow gift shop….another unique area of the museum. The gift shop was filled to the brim with books, small trinkets, old time candy as well as unique jewelry and art painted by some of the artists whose works grace the museum walls.
All too soon it was time to board the bus and head back north. One more surprise awaited on the way home: we were treated to having the bus weighed at the weigh station in Perrysville, Md! That added yet another fun and unique experience to a day filled with visionary art, laughter and great company.
Spring will be here before we know it. Keep your eyes open for the next trips that will be coming this spring. Grounds For Sculpture will be happy to have you join us for our next unique experiences.
By Cassandra Demski, Curator of Education
Join us for Winter Wonders at Grounds For Sculpture
This winter is sure to be full of excitement at Grounds For Sculpture! As always, we are open year-round, but for a special treat this December the park hours will be extended on Friday and Saturdays until 9pm. This will provide a fantastic viewing opportunity for patrons to enjoy our festive holiday lighting throughout the park. This is not to be missed! We are also offering a widae variety of workshops, concerts, performances and special events during December, January and February to give you plenty of reasons to spend your winter at GFS. For a full list of Winter Wonders programming, please visit our website at http://www.groundsforsculpture.org and click on Calendar.
A few selected highlights of upcoming programs include:
Saturday November 26th, starting at 1pm
Lights On! is our Winter Wonders kickoff event! At sundown watch the park come ablaze with light as our holiday lights are turned on for the first time of the season. Stroll its paths as trees and buildings dazzle with thousands of fairy lights and holiday magic. On this day, take the family on a horse-drawn wagon ride to delight in the sparkling splendor and participate in two hands-on art workshops! Be there for the award ceremonies in our 7th Annual Gingerbread House Contest and warm up with songs of the holiday in the late afternoon. And don’t miss the opportunity to shop for that special someone at the Toad Hall Shop & Gallery Artisan Boutique.
Sunday November 27th, starting at 11am
On the second day of Lights On!, enjoy special brunch selections at the Peacock Café and don’t be late for our afternoon Holiday Tea Party from 1-3pm (reservations required by calling 609.890.6015). Plus don’t miss the afternoon musical performance!
Holiday Wreath Decorating Workshop
Saturday December 3rd, 1-3pm
Make your own holiday decorations! In this class for adults, you’ll create your own very special evergreen wreath with berries, stems, ribbons, wire and more to welcome guests to your home or make a one-of-a-kind holiday gift! $40 Members; $45 Non-Members. To purchase, call (609) 586-0616.
Holiday Origami Demonstration
Sunday, December 4, 1-4pm
Watch origami master April Zay create intricate and amazing works of art using this ancient form of paper folding. If you like this demonstration, April’s annual holiday gift box and cards workshop on Saturday, December 10 is a must! Seating is limited and on a first- come, first-serve basis.
Opera NJ: Holiday Fare
Friday, December 9, 7pm
Get into the holiday spirit! We’ve created our own GFS tradition as Opera NJ, the Garden State’s premier opera company, returns to perform a free holiday concert to excite the sense of adults and children alike and fill you with the holiday spirit. A special dinner is available before the concert at the Peacock Café.
Holiday Candle-Making Workshops for Kids
Saturday, December 17, 12 and 1pm
Candles are a distinctive feature in many cultures’ holiday celebrations. In each of these workshops, children will learn how to make a different type of candle and get to bring home their creations (2 candles per child per session)! At noon make aluminum foil molds from which candles will be created. In the 1pm workshop, kids will learn how to create floating candles! First-come, first-served. Materials fee $5 per child, per session, paid at the workshop.
January will feature winter photograph workshops, altered book workshop, faux-plein air watercolor workshop, paper cutting workshops, calligraphy demonstration, Nai-Ni Chen dance performance, yoga classes, gallery talks, book clubs, library book sales, and more! Please check back for more details!
By Jenn Korolenko, Education Assistant
On Saturday, October, 1st I was lucky enough to attend the opening reception and ribbon cutting for Grounds For Sculpture’s new seven acre Meadow and the thrilling, nearly yearlong exhibition of Steve Tobin’s work, Arial Roots.
The afternoon began overcast and cool with a soundtrack of jazz and the gathering of guests, staff and volunteers under the shelter of a huge white tent. All in attendance enjoyed refreshments provided by Rat’s Restaurant and the Peacock Café as well as the company of one another in anticipation of the ribbon cutting ceremony that was to follow this lively reception.
The opening of Tobin’s exhibition and GFS’ Meadow marks months of tireless planning and execution on behalf of the
curatorial, administrative and grounds keeping staff. As our Executive Director, David Miller noted, the rains presented an even greater challenge to an already ambitious project. We can look forward to seeing this outdoor gallery change with the seasons in conjunction with the already awesome works of art in the park.
The October weather was perfect; the tour was lovely and went so fast we were hoping for more. It was great to have the tour and see things from the perspective of guests: the “leave-them-wanting-more” idea…. I will be planning a second trip to the Berman.
If you are sorry you missed this trip, not to worry, there are still spots available on the bus for the November 10th trip to Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum. The $60.00 fee covers the bus and entrance to the museum. While there, lunch is on your own.
by Jenn Korolenko, Education Assistant
On September 17th, 2011 we had lovely weather and the pleasure of conducting yet another Curator’s Walk at GFS. Virginia Steel (our curator of exhibitions) led us through over a dozen of her favorite pieces.
Photographs by Jenn Korolenko
There was a bronzed root sculpture, similar to the one at the Grounds, outside the studio door. Steve’s bronze Roots series calls to mind the unseen power of nature. Steve dug up the actual roots of a tree and used the lost wax process to cast the roots in bronze. The reddish patina on the bronze is to remind us that the roots are alive, just like the arterial system of our body. Steve also used his artistic creativity to make the roots in the sculpture grow down vertically instead of just spreading out laterally as the actual roots had.
After he finished his 9/11 Trinity Root Memorial, which is currently located between Wall Street and Broadway in NYC, Steve stopped making bronze roots and started using steel. The steel roots take his art from naturalism to modernism. His steel roots are inspired by Asian calligraphy. Steve is reminded of specific Japanese/Chinese characters, and then makes ink drawings of them. (I was told by my son, who is studying Chinese, that Steve’s sculptures remind him of the Chinese character ren, which means people.) From the ink drawings, he makes a six foot high model. He gets pipe bent to his specifications and then plays around with the pipe. A staff of ten help smooth the joints between the pipes. It takes one man approximately one month of work to smooth a joint. Steve’s first steel Roots were black, to mimic the sumi ink drawings he makes on rice paper. Once, though, he saw one of his pieces with just the primer painted on and decided to make white “ghost roots;” these contrast with the dark shadows they cast. Just six months ago, he began painting his roots orange because he was reminded of the rust color when thinking about the raw nature of material and also liked the different tones and shadows cast by the sun on the orangey-red color.
Check out the following recent additions to the pop-up silent auction gallery for October 15, 2011! Remember, even if you can’t attend, you can place an Absentee Bid. Click here to download the form.
Check out this short video of Tobin making bang pots.
On October 1, 2011 Grounds For Sculpture inaugurated the new 7-acre Meadow with the exhibitionof Steel Roots by Steve Tobin. Steve has worked in many mediums including ceramics, glass, bronze, and steel. These bang pots are explorations of form exploding into chaos. Each one is unique and made by inserting a small explosive into clay. They emerge from their transformative moment “full of emotional, aesthetic, and sensual conviction, and deeply alive.” Steve Tobin graduated from Tulane University in 1979 with a BS in mathematics. From there, he pursued his artistic career with study in glass at Pilchuck Glass School, WA and Penland School of Crafts, NC. Teaching appointments and fellowships in glass followed, and in 1989, he became the first foreigner invited to build his own studio in Murano, Italy. In 1994, Tobin built his first bronze foundry, and began to cast bronze. Tobin’s work has been exhibited at numerous museums and outdoor venuesincluding: The American Museum of Natural History, New York City; Lincoln Park, Chicago, Illinois; Laumeier Sculpture Park, St. Louis, Missouri; and Sculpturesite Gallery, San Francisco, California. The artist currently works and resides in Bucks County, PA.
This print was donated by the Printmaking Center of New Jersey. Roslyn Rose is a New Jersey native who lives in Hoboken. Rose’s art work is in the collections of many museum and corporations including the Newark Museum; NJ State Museum; NAWA Collection at Voorhees-Zimmerli Art Museum; Stevens Institute; Noyes Museum; and the McAllen International Museum in Texas. Rose is a cofounder of the Hob’art cooperative gallery in Hoboken and is represented by Ceres Gallery in Manhattan.
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