WOOD IN THE WOODS
Stuart Farmery sculpture exhibition opens July 9 at Byrdcliffe
Exhibition Dates: July 9, 2016 – May 2, 2017
Opening July 9, 2016, the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild hosts Stuart Farmery: Sculptures in the Landscape, an outdoor exhibition of sculpture by Stuart Farmery. Farmery is a British-American artist based in nearby Ghent, NY. His work will be displayed on the grounds of White Pines, the 1902 home of Byrdcliffe’s founders, Ralph and Jane Whitehead, where it will remain until May of 2017. Installation of the work commences in June, with the public opening and reception on July 9 (rain or shine).
It is fitting that Farmery’s work be shown at White Pines for multiple reasons, the most incidental, or just coincidental, being that one of his regular working materials is white pine. Hewn and carved from fallen local trees, Farmery’s painted sculpture adapts to the wooded environment of Byrdcliffe and Mount Guardian in ways that underline the relationship between hand-crafted art and the creative influence of nature, fundamental to the Arts & Crafts traditions at the heart of Byrdcliffe’s mission.
While Farmery’s irregular shapes and rough facets invite comparison to the rustic surroundings at White Pines, his use of color—bright pinks, yellows, mottled blue stains—punctuate the landscape with a crisp contemporaneity. The sculptures are monolithic, architectonic, simple: yet their minimalism is the direct opposite of austere. Rather, Farmery’s work possesses nothing short of a friendly human presence. “They start to feel like individuals,” says Farmery, “I work with them and for them.” His recent sculpture ranges from leaning structures composed of forms linked via a single hewn beam, to volumetric abstractions with a humorous ungainliness turned to poise by Farmery’s hand. The predominance of pink and red in Farmery’s palette brings to mind the pictograms of Philip Guston, seen in the round. Curator Katharine Umsted notes “Stuart’s sculptures are playful and beguiling, dancing in the landscape. They are childlike in their animation, yet sophisticated in their formalism and execution.”
This is the fourth outdoor exhibition Bydcliffe has held at White Pines, which also serves as the location for writing studios for its artists-in-residence (AiR) program and, new this year, writing classes in the Loom Room, where Jane Whitehead and others produced textiles in the early twentieth century. An indoor exhibition at White Pines of paintings by Katharine L. McKenna was held in 2014.
Stuart Farmery will give a walk-through artist’s talk at White Pines at 3:00 pm on Saturday, July 9. A reception follows. Rain or shine!
The exhibition is open any time during daylight hours; visitors are requested to view quietly due to the presence of working residents nearby. There is no admission fee.