WEIR FARM TRUST ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE / VISITING ARTISTS PROGRAM, 1999

Drawing inspiration from its magical landscape, artists have lived and worked at Weir Farm for 118 years. The preservation of an extraordinary facet of America's artistic heritage underlies the signifigance of Weir Farm. Equally important, is the preservation of an environment where contemporary artists can thrive. This environment includes not onlythe physical landscape, but also an atmosphere in which the creative spirit is both fostered and nurtured. Providing outstanding opportunities for promising artists within the context of this environment is a mandate of the Weir Farm Trust and is critical to the success of the long-range management plan of the Farm.

The cornerstone of the Trust's programs and central to its mission is the Visual Artists Program which includes resident and visiting artists. Residencies in the newly developed Artist-In-Residence program last two weeks to a month. Artists eventually live in the Burlingham House, which currently serves as the Visitor Center, and work in studios to be constructed on the footprint of a former building. In the meantime, living and work space is located in excellent facilities within a short walk from the Farm.

The Visiting Artists Program, originally envisioned as the first step towards the development of the residency program, uses Weir Farm as an "open air" studio. This program encourages artists to create a cohesive body of work based on their own personal experiences or interpretation of the landscape. Artists are selected through a competitive panel process to spend a period of time, up to a year, working at the Farm.

Artists chosen for participation in the Visiting Artists Program have reached a level of maturity in their work and have thoughtfully considered why they would like to work at the Farm. Since its beginning in 1991, the program has attracted Guggenheim, Fulbright, National Endowment of the Arts Fellows and Connecticut Commission on the Arts grant recipients, as well as winners of other national and international residency and fellowship awards. Artists apply to the program in all visual art forms.

We are pleased with this year's outstanding artists Pamela Ayres, Nancy Buck, Bob Chaplin, John Gruen, John Mulcahy and Betty Tompkins. We again extend our deepest thanks to The Stamford Museum and Nature Center and to Ken Marchione, Director of Art, for making this exhibition possible.

J. Alden Weir had a lifelong commitment to nurturing other artists. His spirit is alive and well at the Farm, due in great part to the artists who come to immerse themselves in their work, having been captured by the landscape that continues to inspire.

Constance Evans, Executive Director

 

 

VISITING ARTIST: TWINROCKER HANDMADE PAPER, 2004

This project, entitled “Stitching and Sewing These Things That Grow,” is a visual investigation of the presentation of natural elements from the Indiana landscape into installations and formal art spaces. The project involves the creation of a series of sculptures constructed with sewn handmade paper, linen and wood elements produced for the purpose of exhibition. The sculptures are made from simple fabrics, hand carved wood, steel and a variety of custom hand pulled papers from the Twinrocker Handmade Paper in Brookston, IN. This series incorporates paper made with fibers of plants indigenous to Indiana from both the wild and the agricultural landscapes. The project is designed to develop my understanding of were I now live and allows me to investigate this region of the country and its ecological distinctions. These works will be an evolution of things that reflect my changing attitude towards this country’s many historical circumstances and our use of varied resources.

* Support provided, in part, by the Indiana Arts Commission, Bradley University and Twinrocker Handmade Paper.

 

 

INSTALLATION AND THE ENVIRONMENT

The exploration of natural materials is affected by seasonal and regional conditions. When I am in the outdoors I gather seeds, shells, rocks, dirt, sand, snow or water. I make and arrange ball-shaped elements that naturally evolve into an altered arrangement. Often the transformed physical makeup of the installations is realized in the passage of time. In addition to the affects of weather and time, in relationship to the work, has an affect on the viewer. The dirt balls grow grass, the sand balls blow away in the wind and dissolve in the surf, and the snow and ice balls melt into puddles. Interpreting the ball objects into selected environments enables me to incorporate the rhythm and systems of nature into the works while gently conveying aspirations of some formal elements of design.

The varied societies of human beings on the earth impact the natural environment continuously. The installations I create impact a place much in the same way that someone plants a garden to enhance a neighborhood, backyard or town green. Because of the scale and accessibility of the works all of these elements seem uncomplicated and lend an invitation to everyone to approach. I observe that people relate to the scale of the balls readily and are willing to be in the locality of the site and participate in the role of witness throughout the life of the work.

 

 

GUANDU NATURE PARK PRESENTS INTERNATIONAL OUTDOOR SCULPTURE FESTIVAL

Guandu Nature Park located in Taipei County will present its first International Outdoor Sculpture Festival opening in May 2006. Six international artists will come to Taiwan and create site specific sculpture installations using natural materials and focused on the theme of nature and the environment.  The Sculpture Festival is being organized by Guandu Nature Park to coincide with their annual International Bird Watching Festival. The Sculpture Festival will include public activities and workshops by some of the invited artists.  Each artist will have a volunteer host for their 7-10 day stay in Taiwan, and volunteer helpers will assist the artists in making their works. 
 
The curator for the Festival is American artist Jane Ingram Allen, now living in Taiwan after completing her "Made in Taiwan" project with an 18 month Fulbright Foundation grant sponsored by the Council for Cultural Affairs and Taiwan's National Endowment for Culture and Art in 2004-05.  For the Guandu International Outdoor Sculpture Festival Allen will be creating a sculpture installation titled "Nests for Humans"  The giant nest forms will be large enough for people to go inside and based on real bird nests collected at Guandu Nature Park.  Allen will use fallen branches and dried grasses to construct the nests and cover the forms with handmade paper made from local plants.  The public will be invited to join in making handmade paper feathers to line the nests. Visitors to the Park can go inside the nests and write some of their own words on the handmade paper feathers.  People will be encouraged to express their thoughts about man's relationship to nature and the birds that use Guandu Nature Park as a home or place to rest during their annual migrations. 
 
Allen has invited 5 other artists to join with her in creating outdoor sculpture works at Guandu Nature Park for the Festival.  The artists include:  Pamela. G. Ayres of the USA, Josho of the USA, Rikuo Ueda of Japan, Ieda Oliviera of Brazil and Wen Fu Yu of Taiwan.   

Artist Wen-Fu Yu, born in Yunlin County and now living in Nantou County, is known for his large scale installations using duck feathers.  Yu recently had a one-person exhibition at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum where his installation titled "The Air" filled the room with a giant cascade of white feathers suspended from the ceiling.  At Guandu Nature Park Yu will create a sculpture in the form of a flower around a pond with thousands of duck feathers.  Yu has created other installations in Taiwan and also in the USA where he has been an artist in residence at Headlands Center for the Arts in California and at the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP) in New York.  

American artist Pamela G. Ayres is coming to Taiwan to create a sculpture installation of many "Grass Balls" using nylon net bags filled with soil and grass seeds to grow over time.  Ayres's installation titled "Growing Grass" will encourage people to watch the work of nature and the process of growth.  She will work with Park naturalists to find seeds for a grass species that is native to Taiwan and that will be good for the environment at Guandu.  Ayres is gallery director and professor of art at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, and she has done similar grass ball installations at art museums and public spaces in the USA.  This will be her first visit to Asia.   
 
Josho of the USA has been an artist in residence for several environmental organizations and is currently working at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center in California.  He will be coming to Taiwan for the first time direct from a project in India.  Josho is very interested in community art projects that involve people in working together to make sculpture installations that focus on land use and environmental issues.  At Guandu he will make a sculpture using local branches and reeds and other grasses that will function as a bird blind and provide bird habitat perches to encourage people to become more aware of birds and the necessity to protect and preserve bird habitats such as Guandu Nature Park.

Rikuo Ieda of Osaka, Japan, will create an installation titled "Mind of Wind" that will be in the form of a small building or "wind café" made of discarded wood and found debris.  Inside the small building will be a wind machine ingenuously constructed from a tree branch and using the power of the wind to make brush drawings on paper. People can sit and have some tea inside the "wind café" while they wait for the wind to make a drawing for them to take home.  His installation will encourage people to become aware of the wind and other often unnoticed elements of nature.  Ueda has been doing similar wind machine installations at many places in Europe and Japan, but this will be his first installation in Taiwan. 
   
Ieda Oliveira of Salvador, Bahia, in Northeastern Brazil will return to Taiwan after spending one month here in August 2005 as an artist in residence at Taipei Artists Village.  Oliveira has created many large scale art installations in her native Brazil and most recently at the 26th Sao Paulo Biennale.  She has also worked as an artist in residence in Germany .Oliveira likes to use everyday found materials and plans to incorporate some of her own Brazilian culture into her work at Guandu as well as the culture of Taiwan.  She will use hundreds of bamboo street brooms from Taipei to create a passageway across the marsh at Guandu Nature Park. 
 
The Sculpture Festival artworks will remain on view at Guandu Nature Park through April 30, 2007.  Public tours and participatory activities and workshops are being planned for the opening weekend and during the 6 months of the exhibition. 

 

 

RESEARCH INTERESTS

The Feminine Eye: A Study of Women's Portrayal in Art and the Way Women Create Art

Contemporary Printmaking and Drawing

An Intrusion of Craft Art Media into the Fine Arts Realm

Multiple Intelligence Theories in Relationship to Educational Development