Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Autumn News

This summer was full of international travel and art making in Denmark and Taiwan. 

In June, The Myth Makers built the Widow's Walk in New Bedford, Massachusetts for the Seaport Art Walk. The concept for the Seaport Art Walk this year is Sustainable Oceans and it is curated by Jessica Bregoli. Our piece is called the Widow's Walk and it is a mythical cormorant figure of a widow contemplating the uncertain future of our oceans in much the same way as sailor's spouses used to anticipate their return. We used recycled black plastic to simulate to the cormorant's black feathers and to draw attention the gyre and the pollution of our oceans with plastic waste that threatens sea life and the sustainability of our fisheries. This piece is on view through October. 

The Widow's Walk, 20 ft tall 2017, bamboo, saplings, wire,
recycled plastic, wire mesh, zip ties

In July, Andy Moerlein and I went to Ringkobing Denmark to participate in the 2017 International Woodsculpture Symposium along with nine talented artists: Watch a timelapse of the project.

Mrs. Donna Dodson, USA
Mr. Janos Drienyovszki, Hungary

Mr. Thomas Lüscher, Switzerland
Mr. Nikolay Martinov, Bulgaria

Mrs. Laura Guzmàn Mèndez
Mr. Toomas Mitt, Estonia
Mr. Andy Moerlein. USA
Mr. Kuldar Moor, Estonia

Mr. Otto Pilgaard, Denmark
Mrs. Maria Christina Rommel, Argentina
Mr. Ormar Tamm, Estonia

Artscope featured my experiences in the current issue of the magazine, Andy Moerlein shared his experiences on the Boston Sculptors Gallery blog and we made an appearance on Danish TV!


The Danish Baby Bringer, 9ft tall, oak, 2017

Andy Moerlein's "Scholar's Rock" 9 ft tall, oak, 2017

In August, The Myth Makers were invited to be the Artists in Residence at the Keelung National Museum of Marine Science & Technology in Taiwan. Organized by Jane Ingram Allen, this International Marine Environment Art Project invites artists from the USA, Europe and Taiwan to complete monumental public works that connect art and science. 



We worked with three groups of volunteers to complete our project on site. We also worked with the local students at the Keelung National Senior High School and shared our process of art making. We used a puppet making curriculum where each student made two animal headed avatars, one representing their favorite animal self and one representing a secret animal self. Then the students wrote myths and stories and acted out plays with their puppet avatars. On the last day we worked in teams demonstrating bamboo techniques and the students built a bamboo environment at the center of their school campus.


During the month long residency, our own sculpture transformed from its original idea into something new and site specific. We arrived eager to learn more about bamboo as a sculpture medium. We had visions of continuing our globe embracing mission to advocate for sustainable ocean resources. We expected to build a twin to our New Bedford MA Widow's Walk. 



We began conversations about fishermen and our American whaling traditions. We talked about the architecture and dress of 18th Century America with our Taiwanese hosts and friends. We could not seem to reach a clear understanding. When we mentioned cormorants, they were puzzled. This was not a familiar bird. We found ourselves with a lot of ideas that perhaps did not belong.



We built a majestic female figure using bamboo techniques learned from Keelung's 85 year old Bamboo Master. We asked everyone we encountered in the ocean side fishing village,"What bird symbolizes the vast ocean ecology?" The Albatross stood out. The albatross is sometimes used metaphorically to mean a psychological burden that feels like a curse. This is an allusion to Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798). The albatross is a natural anomaly - a bird that flies all the world's oceans on wings that are up to 12 feet (3.3 meters). The albatross chick can stay at sea for up to five years before finding their way home to begin a lifelong mating. Birds that lose their mates do not breed again. A majestic and storied bird, the albatross was just the poetic symbol we sought for our work at NMMST in Keelung Taiwan: Watch the brief project video.

The Intrepid Albatross, 20 ft tall, 2017
bamboo, wire ties, recycled rubber, mirrors

She stands facing the sea, like generations of sailor's wives. The Intrepid Albatross is optimistic for the ocean's future bounty, yet she feels uncertain about the sustainability of this massive rich resource. Like the Myth Makers, she believes in a world where all nations contract together to protect and celebrate the sea's vitality. This is one of a series of monumental temporary sculptures in a globe embracing project by The Myth Makers.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Spring and Summer News

The Myth Makers are pleased to announce their current project:

Jason Middlebrook

Art Complex Museum, 189 Alden St, Duxbury, MA 02332
May 7th – September 3rd 2017

Opening Reception: Sunday May 21st 1:30p-3:30p Curator's talk at 2p : Andy Moerlein & Donna Dodson will lead a walk through of the exhibition and introduce the artists present who will each make brief remarks followed by a film screening of Night and Day, the collaborative film and sculpture project by Pat Keck and Peter Anthony at 2:30p. Free and Open to the Public. Pat Keck's creations blend perfectly with Peter Anthony's story about his uncle. Together they tell this coming out story, uniquely and eloquently, about a man who would have been forgotten.
Vanessa German

Artist Talk: Pat Keck Thursday May 25th 10:30a coffee reception, 11am artist talk followed by a film screening of Night and Day, the collaborative film and sculpture project by Pat Keck and Peter Anthony at 11:30a


Pat Keck and Peter Anthony

Artist Talk: Amy Archambault Saturday June 24th 2pm 

Amy Archambault

Artist Talk and Workshop: Mike Wright Saturday July 15th 1:30p

Mike Wright


This summer the Art Complex Museum presents an exhibit of eleven sculptors who make art using wood. The work selected is a broad overview of both the medium of wood and contemporary approaches to art making. This exhibition brings an unmistakable attention to art of the moment without overlooking the curators’ respect for the craft of an object.

Breon Dunigan

“Making art with wood is not an arbitrary decision. For the artists in this show, wood is their muse and a source of their inspiration. Each artist has an affection for wood that comes from a very personal place. In fine art, the mastery of materials and craft must serve the aesthetics of the work. We selected contemporary art for this exhibition that speaks through wood as its medium. We placed several different approaches to using wood in juxtaposition, bringing individual voices into focus. We see wood, as a medium, in the true sense of the word — ‘an intervening substance or agency for transmitting or producing an effect.’ Each artist in the show approaches wood from a conceptual framework that yields surprising and divergent results.” Guest Curators: Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein.

Jennifer Maestre


Wood as Muse features eleven very different sculptors whose connection is wood. With three to eight pieces from each artist this is a deep introduction to the concept and the participants. This selection of artists is diverse in their approaches, yet they are delightfully connected by the artistry and craft of working with this iconic medium. Several of the artists are regionally based and familiar, all of the artists have national and many have international reputations.

Martin Ulman

Amy Archambault’s work addresses wood as a consumer product, using store lumber in playful contraptions. Furniture parts and upholstery become trophy heads with a designer’s attitude in Breon Dunigan’s work. Working with pencils as medium, Jennifer Maestre confounds our perceptions of this commonplace object. As she says, she uses “what is normally a tool to create art into the art itself.” Vanessa German, Mike Wright and Martin Ulman all use discovered wood product that they repurpose. In their art the original use or story the object contains is rebirthed into a new plot.

Andy Moerlein

For the lover of woodcarving and rich grain, this show does not disappoint. Jason Middlebrook, trained as a painter, uses exquisite slab wood as his canvas, layering patterns and colors in conversation with the vivid wood grain. Donna Dodson, Thomas Beale and Andy Moerlein similarly reveal wood’s natural colors yet each of these artists engage art making from a very different personal vocabulary. Dodson’s political feminism is not obscured by her lush wood choices, Beale’s swelling forms belie the many fragmentary parts of their creation, and Moerlein’s surface treatments confound the viewer with suggestions of stone and landscape.

Thomas Beale

Many of these artists flirt with story telling, but Pat Keck finds inspiration in carousel and cigar store figures, puppets and dummies. Her wood carved figures are vital. They will surprise and start a conversation with you. This show has much to offer. It should not be missed.



Update: Martha Himes Riegelhaupt covered this story in the Duxbury Clipper on May 17, 2017, "Wood as Muse now on display at the Art Complex Museum." Jared Bowen covered this show on Open Studio for WGBH Boston on Friday June 9, 2017. Don Wilkinson covered this show for South Coast today on August 17, 2017, " Exhibit brings together stunning and diverse wood works."

In other news: 

I recently published two catalogs of my work: Zodiac and Monumental Works. (Click on the titles to view them online) Zodiac features my intimate wood carvings and Monumental works features my large scale outdoor sculptures.

The Myth Makers published a new catalog of their public art projects. (Click on their name to view the catalog online)

Andy Moerlein recently published two catalogs of his work: Misunderstanding Geology and Gathering(Click on the titles to view them online) Geology features Andy's sculptural homages to ancient Chinese scholar's rocks and Gathering highlights his signature narrative ceramic bird and natural branch sculptures.


Coming up:

Andy Moerlein and I were BOTH selected to participate in the 2017 International Woodsculpture Symposium in Ringkobing Denmark in July along with many talented artists:
Mr. Jorge Schröder, Brazil
Mr. Thomas Lüscher, Switzerland
Mrs. Donna Dodson, USA
Mr. Martijn Smith, Netherland
Mr. Janos Drienyovszki, Hungary
Mr. Andy Moerlein. USA
Mr. Nikolay Martinov, Bulgaria
Mr. Kuldar Moor, Estonia
Mrs. Laura Guzmàn Mèndez
Mr. Ormar Tamm, Estonia
Mr. Toomas Mitt, Estonia
Mr. Otto Pilgaard, Denmark



And in August... The Myth Makers are going to be working on two continents this summer to build their newest Avian Avatar. The Widow's Walk will be part of the New Bedford Seaport Art Walk in Mass. USA and the Keelung National Museum of Marine Science & Technology International Marine Environment Art Project in Taiwan! 


Read more about both of these exciting projects below:



"The artists selected for the 2017 Keelung National Museum of Marine Science & Technology International Marine Environment Art Project have been announced. This year we had an overwhelming 231 applications from artists in many different countries. The following international artists have been selected for 2017 artist-in-residency projects at the National Museum of Marine Science & Technology in Keelung, Taiwan:"

Foreign Artists:
Patrick Demazeau│France
Susanne Ruoff│Germany
Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein (the Mythmakers)│USA
Debbie Fish│New Zealand
Irene Hoppenberg│Germany

Taiwanese Artists:
Chen Chih Yang 楊金池
Chien Chih Chen 陳建智
Yoroe Lin 林猷柔