Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Seward Johnson’

Grounds for Sculpture, created by J. Seward Johnson, is an (almost exclusively) outdoor museum featuring sculpture from around the world in every style, material, shape, and size imaginable. It is peopled throughout – quite literally – by the wonderful sculptures of Johnson himself. I have done a few posts on the Grounds for Sculpture because it is such an amazing place.

In previous posts, I focused on the sculptures throughout the grounds, but what I’ve never highlighted are the exquisite grounds themselves. Each and every sculpture is shown off to its best advantage by its “framing” by the perfect trees, shrubs, or grasses.

Truly, the Grounds for Sculpture is not just a sculpture exhibit,
but a true botanical garden.

One of Seward’s many sculptures, positioned in an outdoor amphitheater.

Sometimes just walking from one area of the grounds to another is an experience, this feeling to me like walking in an Impressionist painting.

Two views of one of the ponds on the grounds.

One of the many magnificent trees to be found as you walk
the museum’s 42 acres.

Another sculpture framed perfectly by the surrounding plantings.

 

Views in a Japanese sculpture garden.

One of a pair of ballerinas.

One of my favorite sculptures and arrangements in the park.

To enjoy more of Grounds for Sculpture, just type that in the search box above. Thanks for walking through these beautiful grounds with me.

Read Full Post »

A blogging friend across the pond at Harvesting Hecate took up a writing challenge, and in turn, Andrea chose three fellow bloggers to carry on the torch. I am honored to be one of the people she chose, and though I am woefully behind time-wise, I do have a few thoughts on this subject. The challenge entails writing about the chosen word and including two quotes, then passing on the challenge to three others. Her word was “joy” and the link above will take you to her thoughts about it. The word Andrea suggested is `Vision.’

As an artist, vision is pretty much everything to me. Over a lifetime I came to understand that people do not all see the same. For much of my life, I always thought that what I saw, you saw.  I simply wasn’t aware of my “vision” as unique and my own miraculous gift. Now I know differently. Below are examples of how I perceive the world – my vision – through my photographs. So yes, some writing, and two quotes I’m loving right now, and my interpretation of the word vision.

Our vision takes us far and into realms of exquisite color …

It gives us a sense of scale …

finds us dreaming in the mist …

or thinking ahead.

Our vision brings us close and aware of texture …

and down roads familiar and well-remembered.

It reminds us that we eat with our eyes first!

Vision brings us back to childhood memories.

Vision takes us places in and around where we live …

and allows us to see through the eyes of others.

It reminds us of the never-ending wonders and beauty of nature.

“Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.”
Rumi

Vision riles up our tastebuds …

and makes us curious about our world.

Vision reminds us of life’s most wonderful small joys …

“If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain.” ~ Emily Dickinson

and to be thankful for all we have.

And then there’s the vision of what we hold within … what forms our dreams, our feelings, our aspirations and inspirations. And what better way to guide us on our inner path than light?


And now I pass on the challenge to 3 more bloggers – Cynthia at cynthiasreyes.com, Pam at roughwighting, and Lavinia at Salmon Brook Farms. If you choose to accept this challenge, your word is `wonder’.

Read Full Post »

So many things to do, so little time! I’m tired of looking at my blog home page, but, pulled in as many directions as I am right now, what to post? I scrolled through my photos in  iPhoto and saw all the wonderful Seward Johnson pieces at the Grounds for Sculpture I’d meant to post, but never got to. So, here while we are having a relatively balmy December in New Jersey, I thought to share – just a tease, I know – two images from a very famous painting, Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe by Edouard Manet.

SJohnson-DejeunerSurLHerbe2

What makes the Grounds so fascinating is that you never know what you will find when you turn a corner. So here, tucked in a landscaped area of trees and a pond, one practically stumbles upon Johnson’s recreation of this famous Impressionist painting. The realism is astounding, whether the sculpture is of modern day people or those who have stepped out of  famous works of art.

SJohnson-WomanPond2

Someday, I will get back to sharing more of Johnson’s wonderful work and the Grounds for Sculpture. For now, enjoy this breath of summer before winter really sets in.

Read Full Post »

For those of you who enjoyed the art of Seward Johnson in a previous post, I am sharing a bit more of the sculptures (mostly) inside the gallery. It seems almost everyone is familiar with the iconic figure of Marilyn Monroe taken over the air blast from a sewer grate. Johnson has done a fine job of Marilyn in this lovely tableau …

SJohnson-Marilyn2

but many more people are actually familiar with his outdoor version of Marilyn …

SJohnson-MarilynOutside2

SJohnson-MarilynOutsideB2

And back to the gallery … perhaps one of the reasons I am drawn to Seward Johnson’s work is that we share something in common – our love of the Impressionist period of painting. Many of his sculptures based on famous paintings are inspired by artists of that time.

SJohnson--LaJaponaise2

SJohnson-LaJaponaiseHead2

Johnson’s study above is based on “La Japonaise”, a painting by Monet, the model being Monet’s first wife.

SJohnson-YoungGirlAtWindow2

He was also inspired by Mary Cassatt, an American-born artist, (Pennsylvania to be exact), who spent most of her adult life in France, where she soon befriended Edgar Dégas and exhibited with the Impressionists. Cassatt’s painting is “Young Girl at Window.”

Manet is another favorite of Seward Johnson, and there are tableaux of Manet’s paintings throughout the Grounds for Sculpture. Below is a small part of the installation based on Manet’s “Olympia.” My crop reflects what the entirety of Manet’s painting looked like.

SJohnson-Olympia2

 But Johnson took it one (huge) step further …

SJohnson-OlympiaRoom2

He created an entire room that one can walk into, such as he imagined this woman might have as her boudoir, historically correct to every detail, as are all the items she wears, right down to her shoes.

The last installation I’m featuring, which was actually the first room you walked into, was deeply touching to me, but I didn’t even realize its significance until I got home and looked at the photos I had taken.

SJohnson-Memorial911-2

There was a figure in the room just to the right of the sculpture, looking at it. As is often the case, we wondered if he was “real.” It soon became apparent he was not. Then we wondered about another figure a bit further away, who sat motionless on a museum bench. He was so still that it wasn’t until he flicked his finger to scroll down on his iPad that we realized he was not a part of the installation. Distracted by this, I somehow thought that this was a memorial to a soldier.

SJohnson-Memorial911Close2

When I looked at my photos at home, I had no idea how I could have missed that this was a tribute to those who died on 9/11. It is a deeply moving piece, with the helmets of firemen, police and EMS workers, the fire hose, the flowers done in bronze and cement, the figure’s head bowed behind two plaques above and below our flag. The marble plaque below says “Im memory of all those who lost their lives.” The piece above, looking as if it were written on paper, has scrawled on it, “In memory of those who gave their lives to try and save so many.”

And then I saw the two shafts of light in the background where our twin towers once stood, and was overwhelmed with sadness yet again. Thank you for this piece, Mr. Johnson.

Read Full Post »

As promised, I will try, as time allows, to bring you some of the amazing works of the sculptor Seward Johnson. He is the founder of the Grounds for Sculpture Museum, which is largely outdoors, and in his 80’s, he continues to work today. A retrospective of his work has been on display for well over a year now, and I feel fortunate to have gotten to see the many pieces that will soon return to their homes around the world.

Just inside the Welcome Center is a large gallery of his works; all but two are based on famous paintings. Today’s post focuses on a few of the works inside the gallery.

SJohnson-BedroomAtArles2

What you see above is a 3-dimensional room created from Van Gogh’s painting, “Bedroom at Arles.” When you step inside the room, there are two shiny black footprints upon which to stand. I, (yeah, I know, shame on me), didn’t read any of the art notes provided, but obediently stood on the footprints anyway and photographed the installation. What I didn’t see until I got home, is that by taking the photo from that exact angle, the effect was that of the 3-D room being flattened to appear as Van Gogh’s painting.

SJohnson-InsideBedroomAtArles2

To me, the genius of this sculpture is not just in Johnson’s usual accomplishment of turning a 2-D painting into a 3-D sculpture, but in then finding a way to reverse it back to 2-D. Above is a photo I took inside the room where you can see that the bed is made up with a real blanket, pillows and sheets.

SJohnson-GirlWithPearlEarring2

Stepping back in time, we have Vermeer’s “Girl with A Pearl Earring.” Johnson sometimes uses a suspended real frame to perfectly surround the subject as he/she appeared in the original painting, while they sit in the proper pose.

SJohnson-MonaLisa2

In more than one example of his work, we see Johnson’s sense of humor, and his “Mona Lisa” installation is certainly one of them. Here she sits, nicely framed, as was our girl above. The guards you see below are, of course, part of the installation, but what about the other people in the photos?

SJohnson-MonaLisaGuards2

Maybe not so much! What is truly enjoyable as you tour the grounds and this gallery and see his work, is that you are frequently left wondering, “Is that person real?” In a world where only a base under their feet can indicate that the people might not be live, it’s not always so easy to tell. Sometimes you do have to come pretty close to be sure.

SJohnson-MonaLisaPhoto2

Who knew the Mona Lisa offered photo ops? I can’t help but think Da Vinci would have been amused.

SJohnson-MonaLisaBoots2

And who would have suspected that the Mona Lisa was a much more modern young lady than her rather serious portrait might indicate. Cheers to Seward Johnson! You put a smile on every person’s face that looked at this exhibit.

If these works appeal to you, I encourage you to go to Seward Johnson’s website where you can see all his works, often multiple views, and have a link to take you to the original painting upon which he based his sculpture.

More sometime soon …

Read Full Post »

JeannesNewFlipFlops2

Why, you may ask, are you looking at a pair of feet in (… well, a pretty cute set of) flip-flops?

Here’s why. For the same reason you’re about to look at a yummy summer salad sitting on an antique kitchen chair complete with original milk paint, (which by the way, doesn’t hold up all that well to everyday wear and tear.)

Salad2

It’s an offering. A little tide-you-over. I’ve been somewhat absent from my blog, but I do think of you, and I do miss the delight of writing more frequent posts, as well as stopping by your blogs. (Just because I don’t follow you or comment doesn’t mean I don’t stop in for a quick peek.)

The last few weeks have included some exciting things – a visit to the Grounds for Sculpture to see the Seward Johnson retrospective before the borrowed pieces return to their permanent spots all over the world on July 1. So much to see, and such genius! I’ll be posting more on that soon. Meanwhile, here’s a little teaser of what’s to come.

SewardJohnson-HotDogMan2

Johnson is known for his sculptures of people in everyday life and his 3-dimensional interpretations of famous paintings. Throughout the grounds one finds groupings of people as well as individuals, such as this hot dog vendor along one of the walkways.

And then there was the NJ SCBWI June Conference where we all ate, drank and slept children’s books for nearly two days straight. It’s intense, exciting, rewarding, and based on everyone’s collapse on Monday, a major rush! The workshops, meeting and dining with agents and editors, connecting and re-connecting with fellow writers and illustrators is quite the whirlwind of an experience, and has us all coming home with a renewed sense of purpose, our dreams fired up, and ready to further our goals and experiences in children’s books.

Intermezzo: a French Bulldog illustration of mine, for summer. (p.s. This is available as part of a boxed set of Frenchie notecards.)

Frenchie-IceCreamSodaSig

And then of course, there’s work. LOTS of work. Not to complain; paying one’s bills is a good thing, but between it all, well, my blog bore the brunt of it. As have my poor LightBetweenOeans-MLStedman2porches which remain bereft of a single flower this year. (I’ll spare you the empty porch photos.) And then there are the everyday demands of just plain life. Busy!

And of course I’ve been reading. I am always reading, no matter what. Great book – just finished – I highly recommend it.

Soon I will share with you some truly amazing treats from the Seward Johnson exhibit.

So stay tuned … I do believe I’m back!

Read Full Post »

GroundsForSculpture-SJohnson2

This piece is titled “Were You Invited?” and was inspired by Renoir’s “Luncheon of the Boating Party”

This brilliant sculptor is now having a major retrospective at the Grounds for Sculpture museum. Seward Johnson founded the non-profit museum whose doors opened in 1992.  Johnson is known for his likenesses of famous figures as well as characters in well-known paintings from different eras, some of which are life-sized and some of which are truly of monumental size. He is also known for his sculptures representing people of all ages from all walks of life, including the boy bicycling in front of the post office in town to the couple looking up at the towering version of “American Gothic” by Grant Wood near the highway exit.

You may have stopped by and viewed some of his amazing sculptures in previous posts on my blog – you can start with Grounds for Sculpture III; the others are all linked. When my friends and I went to visit this 42 acre outdoor sculpture museum, there were so many examples of his work, and so many other wonderful sculptures as well, that I went into a picture-taking frenzy, and never found the time to get them all up. When we  go again over the summer, I plan on just focusing on Johnson’s sculptures that I haven’t yet seen or photographed, including the 26′ tall Marilyn Monroe, titled “Forever Marilyn.”

The retrospective will be on view from May 4, 2014 through September 21, and if you are anywhere within traveling distance and can make it to the Grounds for Sculpture, I promise you will not be disappointed in Johnson’s amazing work or the collection of sculpture on the whole. Read more here about the exhibit, and more here on his own website. I can’t wait to go!

UPDATE: By popular demand, the Seward Johnson Retrospective‘s stay has been extended and will be available through July 2015!

Read Full Post »

In this third post on the Grounds for Sculpture you will see sculptures inspired by famous Impressionist paintings, and all are by one sculptor, Seward Johnson. As Impressionism is my favorite period of painting, I was beyond enamored while at the Grounds by each and every one. I also discovered, in perusing Seward Johnson’s website, that sculptures I have already included in previous posts are by him as well.

GfS-CoupleBench2

Entitled “A Thought to Consider,” this sculpture was inspired by Manet’s “In the Wintergarden.”

Johnson is 83 years old, and to say he is prolific is an understatement. His sculptures cover far more than those inspired by paintings, but giant sculptures of people, (see “American Gothic” in an earlier post), and people engaged in everyday activities. If you really want to see the amazing scope of his work, go visit his website.

Meanwhile, enjoy an initial selection of some I photographed.

GfS-SailingTheSeine2

“Sailing the Seine” was created after Manet’s “Argenteuil.”

GfS-TheRowersLunch1-2

GfS-TheRowersLunch2-2

Seward named this “Pondering the Benefits of Exercise” inspired by Renoir’s “The Rowers’ Lunch.”

GfS-OnePoppiedHill-2

Based on Monet’s “Woman with A Parasol,” Seward named his sculpture “One Poppied Hill.” The woman and her child are indeed high on a hill. You might easily pass them by as you walk through the grounds if your eye had not already been trained to look everywhere as the sculptural gems are displayed in every manner and place imaginable.

GfS-Monet1-2

GfS-Monet2-2

Created 3-dimensionally after one of Monet’s most famous paintings, “Terrace at Sainte-Adresse,” Seward titled this “If It Were Time.” The two photos above are close-ups; to see the entire installation take a quick look here.  (p.s. The child in the view immediately above is real.)

GfS-MonetHimself-2

And who better to show than Monet himself painting the scene, discreetly obscured in nearby brush. Seward named this sculpture “Copyright Violation!”

This is really just a handful of sculptures by Seward Johnson. When I can I’ll share more of his and other sculptures at the Grounds.

Grounds for Sculpture I

Grounds for Sculpture II

Read Full Post »

Platform Number 4

Becky Ross Michael: an author's blog

Letitgocoach

Let it all go. See what stays.

Giving Voice to My Astonishment

Observing, Gathering, Gleaning, Sharing

roughwighting

Life in a flash - a weekly writing blog

JEANNE BALSAM GRAPHICS

BRINGING YOUR DREAMS TO LIFE

Salmon Brook Farms

Official Home of Lavinia and Rick Ross

Harvesting Hecate

Thoughts on life, writing, creativity and magic

Cynthia Reyes

The blog of Canadian author Cynthia Reyes

Marie Lamba, author

Some thoughts from author and agent Marie Lamba

A Leaf in Springtime

"Be a dew to the soil of the human heart."

home, garden, life

home, garden, life ~ sharing a sustainable lifestyle

%d bloggers like this: