Thursday, June 26, 2008

Because Rabbit Would Talk

"But, Pooh," cried Piglet, all excited, "do you know the way?"

"No," said Pooh. "But there are twelve pots of honey in my cupboard, and they've been calling to me for hours. I couldn't hear them properly before, because Rabbit would talk, but if nobody says anything except those twelve pots, I think, Piglet, I shall know where they are calling from. Come on."


We visited the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey. It was a bit hot after the previous days, and we were worn out by the amount there is to see (over 200 sculptures in the 35 acre setting!), but we had a great time and saw many memorable works. I'll write more about others in separate posts.

J. Seward Johnson has created a number of works there which are inspired by Impressionist paintings, particularly by Monet and Renoir. Perhaps the most complex, philosophically, is his combined works Copyright Violation!, which shows Monet painting Seward Johnson's sculpture If It Were Time (my photo here) which is in turn inspired by Monet's painting Terrace at Sainte-Adresse. There is more information about these two sculptures and others by this artist at the link above (click his name).

The primary difference between painting and sculpture, I was told repeatedly in art school, is that sculpture is "in the round." You can see it from multiple views and it changes as you move around it.

This is sharply driven home by the J. Seward Johnson sculptures, because as you walk around and into them, you see things the paintings can't show you. Like the view from the other side... Here is how the sculptor imagined the other side of the two seated figures in Terrace at Sainte-Adresse. Click on the image for a larger view, paying particular attention to their faces.

Our daughter looked at them, laughed and said, "They're like the chicken and toad at our fountain."

She meant these guys.

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