SCULPTURE EMBRACES HORTICULTURE
A trend among stately mansions from the past — many of which are now museum-like non-profit institutions — is the idea of boosting tourist interest through the presentation of site-sensitive art.
Allison Newsome is a defining force in developing this type of outreach into genuinely interesting events. Her sophisticated perspective is very much in evidence with “Sculpture Embraces Horticulture,” a group show of seven artists (including herself) organized for the Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum in Bristol, Rhode Island, on view through October 31. This outdoor sculpture exhibition is a cross- pollination highlight in Blithewold’s imaginative stewardship and features quality contemporary art as a vehicle of insight and enrichment. With this show, Newsome creates an outdoor exhibit that shares artworks interactive with nature.
Within her role as a full-time artist and her role as a curator, she is also a part-time instructor at Harvard University and some of her artworks are permanent acquisitions of both the Newport Art Museum and Rhode Island School of Design. Newsome is a ceramics sculptor who special- izes in narrative content involving an abundance of growing things.
Prior to this event, her studio overflowed with huge ceramic inter- pretations of leafy things she was in the midst of creating in preparation for the exhibition. It seemed as if she had channeled some sort of Aztec connection with her imagined flora species, which were to be assembled at Blithe- wold as impressively large, people-size flowers on view among the arboretum’s graveled trails. The artist used lots of Mason stain and free-flowing glazing in these sculptures.