Curated by Cathryn Griffith, The St. Botolph Club
199 Commonwealth Ave, Boston: 617-536-7570
Exhibition Dates: February 24th-March 25th 2016
Opening Reception: Wednesday, February 24th 5:30p-7p
"The signs of the Zodiac are Karmic Patterns; the Planets are the Looms; the Will is the Weaver."
In Donna Dodson’s premiere show at The St. Botolph’s Club, she brings together her signature vocabulary of animal headed mythological figures with her favorite material- wood. Dodson has created a new body of work called The Chinese Zodiac for this exhibition. This references the twelve animals that are associated with the ancient system of belief in China. Unlike the Western zodiac, where each sign is associated with the month a person was born, the Eastern zodiac is based on birth years from the beginning of time to the present day. A different animal is associated with each year and its attributes characterize that year. The order of the animals is fixed and repeats every 12 years. With the exception of Ai Wei Wei’s “Circle of Animals: Zodiac Heads,” a large scale bronze public art installation that toured the world, the Chinese zodiac has not been revisited by contemporary artists.
Historically artists such as Audubon, Bernini and Hokusai have brought realistic images of animals to life with stylizations that resist anthropomorphism. But in Dodson’s work, she sees the animal head and body language of her figures as representations of certain personality types that evoke larger than life characters. The animal symbols in the zodiac seek to explain personal fortune and global events based on animal characteristics and their larger conceptual influences on human nature. There are twelve animals in the Chinese Zodiac: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit/hare, dragon, snake, horse, goat/sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig/boar. The fact that Dodson’s animal heads are attached to human bodies, reveals her vision of inner resonance and outer force of will that the Chinese Zodiac implies.
Update: Holly Camero featured Andy Moerlein and I on Wicked local. We are the talk of the town. Denishe also featured us on her blog, The Maynard Grapevine. Art New England interviewed Andy Moerlein and I about our recent trip to China on behalf of the Boston Sculptors Gallery (see below).
Boston Sculptors Gallery starts the New Year with a visit to China
Boston Sculptors Gallery members Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein along with Carole Feuerman of the Carole A. Feuerman Sculpture Foundation and Michael Manjarris representing Sculpture for New Orleans, were invited by Gertrud Aeschlimann of Art-st-Urban to attend the Changchun World Sculpture Park Conference held in Changchun China from January 10th to January 12th 2016 and to participate in the first preliminary meeting of the International Sculpture Park Union. All three organizations became members of the Union.
During the conference, representatives of the new member organizations visited the Changchun World Sculpture Park – the largest sculpture park in the world with a work of art from every country. Dodson and Moerlein gave a presentation on the Boston Sculptors Gallery’s recent public art projects: highlighting the unique ways this cooperative gallery has initiated major public art projects in both public, urban and private historic settings. Likewise, Carole Feuerman presented information about the International Sculpture Center and the Carole Feuerman Foundation highlighting the latter's recent international group exhibition "Mixing Medias." Michael Manjarris discussed the objectives and outcomes of his large scale public art project, "Sculpture for New Orleans." Gary Garrido Schneider from Grounds for Sculpture highlighted the recent initiatives they are undertaking to address cultural tourism, and Charles Haude from the J Seward Johnson Foundation featured images of their recent monumental installations. Each new member organization presented the challenges they are facing and proposed new solutions that can be realized by working together in the ISPU.
Part of the conference was the adoption of the International Sculpture Park Union constitution, as well as the elected leadership of the Union. The first Sculpture Park Union president Chinese Wang Mingshan (Changchun World Sculpture Park curator) handed over the union leadership to Gertrud Aeschlimann, representing the Art-St-Urban Sculpture Park in Lucerne, Switzerland, while the Union's Secretary General was elected to the Chinese representative Wang Xuezhan.
The International Sculpture Park Union was founded in 2014, on September 4th in Changchun, China. The founding document was signed by 5 sculpture parks: Changchun WorldSculpture Park (People's Republic), Art-St-Urban (Switzerland), Beddington Art Galleries & Gardens (France), Chianti Sculpture Park (Italy), Pedvāle Open-Air Art Museum (Latvia).
Grounds for Sculpture, represented by Gary Garrido Schenider, Sculpture for New Orleans, represented by Michael Manjarris, The Carole Feuerman Foundation, represented by Carole Feuerman, The J Seward Johnson Atelier, represented by Charles Haude and The Juming Museum in Taiwan, represented by Dr. Shun-Ling Wu, were sworn in as the newest members of the ISPU alongside the Boston Sculptors Gallery represented by Dodson and Moerlein during this ISPU conference.
The International Sculpture Park Union's objectives are to:
* To promote and facilitate cooperation between the private and public organizations which share common objectives with the association so that they can effectively cooperate in the global, national and regional level to discuss common problems and search for solutions;
* To strengthen the friendly cooperation and mobility between sculpture parks around the world to promote their development;
* To promote the exchange of information;
* To encourage and promote the creation of different studies aimed at improving communication and cooperation between sculpture parks.
The main union activities are exhibitions exchange, exchange of information and the association's promotion of seminars and conferences to share experiences sculpture park management and marketing, as well as share practical and theoretical experience with countries wishing to build a sculpture park.