So Many Odd Sculptures, So Little Time

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After checking out some of the Cheekwood gardens, I stepped inside the Frist Learning Center for an air conditioning break and began what became an hour of looking at…shall we say interesting (?) sculptures.

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First up was “Silver Linings” by Artist-In-Residence Soo Sunny Park.  I love the concept – behind every cloud is a silver lining – but the instillation hangs pretty low, so walking through it (which is what the intention appears to be) is pretty difficult, even for someone as short as I am.  I also wish the instillation were bigger – it takes up a whole room, but somehow still feels small for it’s size.

“Silver Linings”
“Silver Linings”
“Silver Linings”
“Silver Linings”

After leaving “Silver Linings”, I walked outside the Frist Learning Center and set out on the Sculpture Trail, located right behind the building.  I’m not entirely sure what I thought it would be, but I was left confused and perplexed by the time I was to the end.  The trail was not well marked, causing me to get turned around a few times and miss a few of the sculptures, which is kind of impressive in a sad way considering how often I hike, but also quite frankly, I didn’t “get” a lot of the art.  It’s like when I was in Spain, I visited a small gallery in Segovia that had exhibits such as cutlery affixed to a canvas and also a leaning tower of microwaves.  For me, it doesn’t have anything to do with how “pretty” a piece is – I’m equally intrigued by aesthetically pleasing pieces, such as Van Gogh’s Starry Night as I am to more disturbing pieces, such as Picasso’s Guernica (depicting the German and Italian bombings of the Basque region) or Frida Kahlo’s Henry Ford Hospital (which she painted about her 2nd miscarriage) – it has to do with whether the piece seems contrived to me.  I prefer to see something that provokes an emotion, any emotion.  I want to be inspired, not bored.  That’s the problem I had with the Nature Sculpture Trail at Cheekwood.  Sure, some of the pieces were nice, but the grand majority were just confusing, and not in a good way.

First for the good news.  Here are some of the pieces I did like:

  • Glass Bridge by Siah Armajani.  Seems kind of out of place on a nature trail, and I was slightly terrified I’d go crashing through the floor on my first step, but it’s definitely pretty and well constructed.
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    “Glass Bridge”

    “Glass Bridge”
  • Turtles, Two Hares, Frog and Hawk by Frank Fleming.  Super cute and cheeky, appropriate for the setting, and searching for the hawk amongst the trees was a lot of fun.

    “Turtle, Two Hares, Frog and Hawk”
  • Tree Poem by John Scott.  My favorite by far.IMG_1662IMG_1660

Now here are the ones I was thoroughly underwhelmed by:

  • Blue Pesher by James Turrell IMG_1659 IMG_1658
  • “The Order Of The Present Is The Disorder Of The Future” – SAINT-JUST, by Ian Hamilton Finlay IMG_1654
  • A Memorial To The Aboriginal People Of This Land Who Lived In With These Forests, by Yoné Sinor IMG_1651 IMG_1650

If anyone reading this post disagrees with my assessment of these installations, I understand, but art is subjective.

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