Mill Brook Beckons in Full Bloom
by Marcia Santore
Signs of spring were few and far between in April in New Hampshire this year, but Pam Tarbell, owner of Mill Brook Gallery and Sculpture Garden in Concord, is providing a “Spring Celebration” nonetheless. The exhibition features work by eight painters and one sculptor from New England, and will run through June 26.
The Mill Brook Gallery and Sculpture Garden is an appropriate venue for this exhibition based in the natural world. The gallery is located on a lovely horse farm only a 10-minute drive from downtown Concord, N.H. Outside, the sculpture garden extends around the building and down a long, dirt driveway to the street, with works set among gardens, fields, woods and a nearby pond. Inside, there are two downstairs galleries that show work by Mill Brook’s stable of artists and the upstairs gallery that hosts rotating exhibitions such as “Spring Celebration.”
The one sculptor in the exhibition is Andy Moerlein, with pieces drawn from his series of birds on branches made from wood, ceramic, slate and paper. The largest is about the height of a person, a convoluted branch painted red with seven blue birds perched and another hanging on the underside of a branch. Another has several birds perched on a twig on a rock on a branch, the precariousness of their situation emphasized by two more birds toward the bottom of the branch, leaving the viewer to wonder, “What will happen if one more bird lands?”
Moerlein is a sculptor originally from Bow, N.H. and now based in Maynard, Mass. with a growing national and international reputation. One of his larger sculptures can be seen just inside the entry to the Mill Brook grounds. In addition to his individual work, he is part of the Myth Makers collective with his wife and art partner, sculptor Donna Dodson. Their work can also be seen this spring in Harrisburg, Penn. where, with the help of volunteers, they recently installed their sculpture “Wildwood Phoenix” at the Olewine Nature Center at Wildwood Park.