Wednesday, June 6, 2012

View readies for Bryden installation

View is undergoing a transformation as its parking lot island is re-designed in preparation for a permanent outdoor sculpture installation by artist Lewis Bryden.

The sculpture, titled “Nature as Muse,” is a life-size, cast bronze figure of a girl with her hand reaching up to a bird. The statue will reside next to a small reflecting pool surrounded by lawn. The island will also have shade trees and evergreens, benches, boulders, and a walkway.

“Nature is the inspiration for art, and the sculpture personifies this with the young girl making contact with a wild bird,” says Bryden. “More than most sculptures, this work is about nature, and so it seemed important to surround it with a natural setting.“

The entire installation is a gift to View from Lewis and Betsy Bryden, to commemorate the lives of Betsy’s grandparents, Elizabeth Elliot and Edward Mallinckrodt, Jr., who were longtime summer residents of Old Forge and avid art collectors. Betsy’s grandmother introduced her to Miriam Kashiwa, founder of the arts center that is now called View, more than 50 years ago.

“Our hope is that people will feel inspired by the statue and the setting, and that they will reflect on art and nature,” say Betsy and Lewis. “We envision children playing around the shallow pool while parents pass time on the nearby benches.”

The process of casting bronze is thousands of years old, says Bryden, who has been a professional artist for 30 years, most of them as a painter. “I chose the lost wax method, in which the finished clay sculpture is remolded in wax, coated with ceramic material, and then poured with molten bronze. Everywhere the wax was, the bronze now takes its place,” he said.

As part of the process, Bryden created a maquette, or small scale model of the sculpture. “It helps the artist and others to visualize the sculpture and to identify problems early,” he said. He also did a portrait study as an exercise to explore the character of the young girl.

The maquette and portrait study for “Nature as Muse” are currently on display at View. The portrait has been donated to View’s permanent collection, and the maquette will be raffled to raise money for View.  

The sculpture installation will be completed by early July. A dedication will take place at View’s annual gala on July 6 and then will be open to the public starting Saturday, July 7.

-- Leslie Bailey, View Staff

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