Poetic sculptures of famous women bring their stories to life – Emily Dickinson, Louisa May Alcott, Clara Endicott Sears, Mother Ann Lee, Emma Safford, and others.
(HARVARD, Mass.) – Fruitlands Museum presents Seeing Past Faces, an exhibition of work by 2016 Artist-in-Residence Carolyn Wirth, on view in The Art Museum. July 2 – August 21. At once both figural and abstract, Wirth’s eloquent sculptures showcase American female authors including Emily Dickinson and Louisa May Alcott, and women connected to Fruitlands’ history, such as The Shaker’s Mother Ann Lee, Fruitland’s founder Clara Endicott Sears, and Wampanoag basket maker Emma Safford. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, July 16, 1-3pm.
“Wirth’s creative method crafts poetic representations of historic women,” says curator Rebecca Migdal. “With each step, her sculptures disrupt the idea of portraits. She works from historic images blended with photographs of herself. She sews period clothing only to abstract it by stiffening it into sculptural forms. Her unique painterly style of casting uses wax, embedded objects, or open spaces to create layers of meaning in each work. The physical interventions Wirth employs produce sculpture that departs from strict portraiture. Rather than showing only their faces or their clothes, the artist captures the spirit of her subjects, bringing to life the stories of these compelling women.”
In addition to her Art Museum exhibition, Wirth is creating a site-specific interactive sculpture, titled Spirit Tree, inspired by Fruitlands’ landscape and history. Visitors are invited to contribute to this new tree mural in the Wayside Visitor Center. A participatory project, Spirit Tree is based on Shaker Spirit Drawings, which were small tokens given in fellowship between Shakers. The subjects of the drawings could include exotic birds, and items of gold and silver, but trees, fruit, and flowers were common symbols of life and growth. Visitors will be invited to add to Wirth’s Spirit Tree by using blank leaves (ask at the visitors’ center desk) to write a few words about what inspires them; or to draw their own leaf or flower and add it to the branches.
According to Wirth, “I’ve been planning my Fruitlands residency for a long time, and have created several new sculptures especially for Seeing Past Faces. During my many visits to Fruitlands I’ve been lured by the mystery surrounding the women associated with the museum. For example, I’ve always been intrigued by a small photo of Wampanoag basket maker Emma Safford in the Native American building. I think if there was one person from the museum I’d like to speak with, it would be Emma. I can’t know the story of her life, since it wasn’t written down. She exists in the historic record only in this photo, and a mention of a family of Native American basket makers, but her 150-year-old, miniature basket is preserved. I can imagine her cutting walnut splints, weaving the basket, making the lid fit exactly. When I think of her, I see her face and weaving combined into one image. In making the sculpture about her I’ve tried to embody this thought—that the maker and her creation are one—and both speak to us across time.”
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Carolyn Wirth is an Adjunct Professor of Fine Art at Pine Manor College, where she also curates and directs the College’s Hess Gallery. Carolyn received a B.A. in art from Smith College, and has an M.A. in sculpture and environmental art from New York University. She was a member of Boston’s artist-run Kingston Gallery for 10 years and has produced commissions for the Melrose, Massachusetts public library, the City of Boston Parks Department, and the Boston Children’s Museum. In 2002 she received a Boston Cultural Council Artists Fellowship in sculpture. A resident of Maynard, MA, her studio is in Stow, MA in the Gleasondale Industrial Park. Her blog and recent sculpture can be seen at carolynwirth.com.
As part of her residency, Wirth will be conducting workshops, leading gallery tours, and inviting the public to experience her art making,
INTRODUCTION TO FIGURATIVE SCULPTURE
Sunday, July 10, 2016 | 10-3PM | $100 Members, $125 Nonmembers
Join 2016 Artist-in-Residence Carolyn Wirth in a one-day workshop introduction to figurative sculptures using papier-mâché. In this workshop, students will learn how to construct a three dimensional armature using wire and metal supports and then fill out the structure with papier-mâché to give the form shape, basic features, and fishing details. Sculptures will go home with creators to dry. All supplies provided, no experience necessary. Space is limited. To register, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 978.456.3924 x239.
GALLERY TOUR: CAROLYN WIRTH, 2016 ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE
Sunday, July 17, 2016 & Thursday, August 18 | 3-4pm | Free with admission
Join 2016 Artist-in-Residence Carolyn Wirth in a guided gallery tour of her special exhibition, Seeing Past Faces. Learn how she approaches her work in sculpture, photography, and printmaking. Learn about the people, ideas and events that inform her work and gain insights into the artistic process in this intimate gallery talk.
FREE FUN FRIDAY
Friday, July 22 | 10am-4pm | Free admission
Visitors will be invited to add to Wirth’s interactive installation Spirit Tree by using one of the blank leaves (ask at the visitors’ center desk) to write a few words about what inspires them. Or draw your own leaf or flower and add it to the branches. On July 22, attendees will be making midsummer fruit for the tree. Come and be inspired!
STUDIO TOUR: CAROLYN WIRTH
Sunday, August 28, 2016 | 1-3pm | $15 Members, $25 Nonmembers
Take an intimate look into an artist studio on an exclusive tour of Carolyn Wirth’s workspace. Set in an industrial warehouse, Wirth’s studio contains works in progress, sculptural castings and armatures, and finished projects. Visit the studio with Carolyn and learn more about how she creates sculptures like those on exhibit in Seeing Past Faces, her exhibition at Fruitlands Museum.
Space is extremely limited. To register, contact email@example.com or call (978) 456-3924, ext. 239.
Fruitlands Museum is open Monday, Wednesday Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. — 4 p.m., weekends and holidays 10AM — 5PM, April 15 – November 6, 2016. Admission is $14 adults, $12 seniors and students, $6 for children 5 – 13, and free for members and children under 5. Fruitlands Museum is located at 102 Prospect Hill Road in Harvard, Mass. For more information please visit www.fruitlands.org or call 978-456-3924 ext. 292.
ABOUT FRUITLANDS MUSEUM
Fruitlands Museum, a 210-acre historic, natural, and cultural destination based in Harvard, MA, recently announced plans to integrate operations with The Trustees of Reservations. Founded in 1914 by author and preservationist Clara Endicott Sears, the complex takes its name from an experimental utopian community led by Transcendentalists Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane that existed on this site in 1843. Fruitlands is dedicated to New England history & art, and its properties include: The Fruitlands Farmhouse, once home to the family of Louisa May Alcott and a National Historic landmark; The Shaker Museum, home to the largest archive of Harvard Shaker documents in the world; The Native American Museum, which houses a significant collection of artifacts that honor the spiritual presence and cultural history of the first Americans; The Art Museum, featuring a renowned collection of Hudson River School landscape paintings and 19th century vernacular portraits, along with rotating special exhibitions; and The Land, which features panoramic views of the Nashua River Valley, including 2.5 miles of meadows and woodland recreational trails. The Fruitlands Museum Store sells fine crafts by local artists, including pottery, glass, jewelry, clothing and home furnishings. The Museum Café, open during the main season focuses on locally sourced, sustainable cuisine reflective of the heritage of New England. For more information, visit www.fruitlands.org or call 978-456-3924 ext. 292.
Fruitlands Museum, Discover Art, Nature & History
102 Prospect Hill Road
978-456-3924 ext. 292
About Fruitlands Museum
Fruitlands Museum, founded in 1914 by Clara Endicott Sears, takes its name from an experimental utopian community led by Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane that existed on this site in 1843. The Fruitlands campus includes: The Fruitlands Farmhouse, the site of an experiment in communal living led by Alcott and Lane in 1843; The Shaker Museum, home to the largest archive of Harvard Shaker documents in the world; The Native American Gallery, which houses a significant collection of artifacts that honor the spiritual presence and cultural history of the first Americans; The Art Gallery, featuring a significant display of our extensive collection of Hudson River School landscape paintings, and a partial display of our over 230 nineteenth century vernacular portraits, the second largest collection in the country. The Land feature 210 acres with panoramic views of the Nashua River Valley, including 2.5 miles of walking trails. The Fruitlands Museum Store sells fine crafts by local artists, including pottery, glass, jewelry, clothing and home furnishings. The Museum Café, open during the main season (April 16 through November 2) focuses on locally-sourced, sustainable cuisine reflective of the heritage of New England. For more information, visit www.fruitlands.org or call 978-456-3924 ext. 292.