Monday, April 12, 2010

Really Big Art!

Last week, I did a whole lot of looking at art. I haven't had a week like that since I went to London many years ago. It was quite fun to be doing it locally. I'm lucky to live close to many museums which don't cost an arm and a leg to get into. In fact, many of them are frequently free if you time it right. I felt like my museum hopping was a little vacation from my regular life and I have been in need of it to restore my creative energy which was totally zapped by preparing all that stuff for the tax man. Thank goodness that is over.

A week or so ago, the art teacher at Julia's school asked me if I wanted to go on the field trip to Williams College Art Museum. I hadn't been in a while and made time for the trip in my schedule. I love this little museum - it is free to go to (always a plus) and they have a large collection of paintings by the Brothers Prendergast (Maurice and Charles). The kids were going to visit a special exhibit entitled "Landscapes of the Mind." Although the visit was really short, I thought it was great that the 3rd to 6th graders had a chance to actually see and visit art since many families don't have the interest or the time to open their children's lives to the visual arts. The "brain" exhibit was okay - I'm not much for modern and conceptual art, I admit. I got a chance to check out some of the paintings that rotate in and out of their vast holdings and Julia and I had a nice day.

But here was the biggest surprise - literally.

In one of the galleries there was a life-size 50 foot white sperm whale made out of WOOL FELT! Oh, this thing was awesome. It was made by the artist Tristan Lowe in association with Philadelphia's Fabric Workshop and Museum.

Unfortunately, the whale wasn't part of the kids' tour. A big mistake, I think, because all of the kids could have really been inspired by this piece. You can read all about it here. How great that the whale is made of WOOL FELT. It was all I could do to keep my hands off of him. My favorite part were the barnacles which were made by layering felt and then stitching them to create the characteristic folds. From afar they look so real but up close, they look sewn.


This whole sculpture is inflated. The felt pieces are zipped together with long, long zippers that become part of the the wrinkles and texture in the whale's skin.

If you get a chance, go visit Mocha Dick - he'll be there at Williams College until August 8th, 2010. Another great use of the wool fiber, wouldn't you say?

9 comments:

Elva Undine said...

Oh Kristin, that is amazing! And way to have the self-control to not touch it. :)
I'm so happy you posted this, it reminds me that I've got to see a whale exhibit here in Pgh before it leaves.

Sallie said...

Love the whale. What a great, creative idea!

Virginia said...

That is so cool! I definitely have to go up. My husband and I make pilgramages to MassMOCA every few months, and Williams isn't too far...

Plus, you know, WEBS is between me and there...

alittlefuzzy said...

Wow, what a neat sculpture! If only I were closer to WCMA...

Kekumukula said...

How awesome! From far away the whale looks like it's made from clay. Those were some dedicated sewers there.

Lisa said...

Thanks so much for pointing out the Bloomsbury show a couple of weeks ago. I went to Northampton over the weekend just to see it - it was wonderful and inspirational.

Michele in Maine said...

Oh, I love that whale! My reunion at Williams (30th! eeekk!) is in early June, so I'll get to see it. So cool!

HOA Mgr Lady said...

Makes me wonder if I could do a cat. Hmmm Wowie zowie>

Laura said...

Thanks for sharing! Love the whale and the clever barnacles - very realistic! i loved going on field trip with my kids.
Laura T