Within every outdoor sculpture exhibition, there is a synchronic event happening — the merging of the sculpture itself with the venue that supports it. Usually, the natural environment is an integral part of the whole, lending itself to a conversation with the curated work within it. Sometimes thework is dispersed among city structures, creating focal points within an angular backdrop. Very often one finds the work embedded in nature. At The Mount in Lenox, Massachusetts, trees and rolling lawns provide a gracious complement to the mostly large sculptures. Everything comes alive with the anticipation of what lies around any given corner.
Founded in 1993, “SculptureNow” has had a long presence in the Berkshires and has had a symbiotic relationship with The Mount (Edith Wharton’s Home) for 10 years. Its collaboration with The Mount has given the event the ability to extend its reach in the forms of education and inclusion. The group has outreach not only to students, but to the neurodivergent community. Realizing that sculpture is a very tactile entity,
“SculptureNow” has involved blind and visually impaired individuals to experience form from the perspective of a felt object, and in doing so, expands the general awareness of alternative possibilities of perception and participation.
There are 27 sculptures currently on view on the grounds of The Mount, and a self-guided tour complete with map and audio. There are also artist-guided tours throughout the duration of the exhibition, which inevitably draw large numbers of attendees. However, visiting the exhibition on the day of the opening afforded the opportunity to meet some of the artists and share in the apex of their singular experiences. Large scale, and even medium-scale sculptures need to work within and be enhanced by the environment. They need to endure weather conditions and fit sturdily into an assigned space in the venue. Only part of the percentage of an artist’s consideration is aesthetic; the rest is engineering. And from the experience of creating outdoor sculpture, the artists are always learning, being inspired by the differing situations, and they are constant problem-solvers. The work is both site- specific and a personal, individual entity.