Helen Day Art Center
90 Pond Street
Through October 13
in its 21st year, the stowe exposed outdoor sculpture exhibition continues to intrigue passersby on stowe’s main street, along a short span of the town’s recreational path and the helen day art Center property. this year, 28 works are on show. unlike outdoor sculpture in front of corporate headquarters, these works invite the viewers to engage with the works. rachel moore, curator at the helen day art Center, notes this phenomenon in the exhibition catalogue: “public art plays an integral role in a place — bringing people together, creating a sense of identity, and allowing dialogue to emerge, as well as political and social expression.”
Jessica DiClerico and Oliver Schemm, who collaborated on two installations, ”God Box I and II,” understand the power of audience engagement. The ”God Boxes” look like they might be adorned guardhouses outside the palace in Monaco, or very fancy outhouses. Their proximity to the iconic New England church two blocks away makes one think, “This is a mini place of worship.” And when one enters, there is a single seat for contemplation. In “God Box I,” the viewer faces a vintage dashboard of sorts with lose knobs and buttons that can be manipulated to no effect. A heavy duty industrial chain affixed to the wall is menacing. A large map illustrates “Our Country in 1837.” In ”God Box II,” a series of nesting boxes opens up to tattered pieces of tea-stained papers with handwritten messages referencing aspects of love gone awry.
A block up, in front of the I.C. Scoops ice cream shop, is Theodore Ceraldi’s ”Kiss,” two outsize steel semi-spheres almost touching at their convex bottoms. They each have a small handle at the top and resemble two teacups at odds with one another. The viewer is seduced into the rhythm of this suggested dance and can’t help but imagine the moment when the implied union of the two shells is complete, or not.
Not all the works are visual. While contemplating Ceres Zabel’s ”Nea Yis,” an enormous egg made from Byzantine and Venetian glass that suggests the delicate balance of Earth through its cracked shell, I became aware of wind chimes ... on a windless day. Moments later, I discovered a cluster of wind chimes barely perceptible underneath a bench in front of the Stowe Area Association offices. The chimes, the work of Monica Herrera, hung as udders on a cow and only when an unsuspecting person opted for a rest did the chimes begin their “song.” A much larger installation sits under a narrow bridge that crosses a creek along the Rec Path.