The METAL-ITY exhibition is now open, and will run through October 1, 2021.
METAL-ITY is a dynamic, open-air art exhibition encompassing more than 100 works of art from across New England, interplaying art and nature while offering bountiful opportunities for learning and community celebration. Organized by ArtSpace’s Executive Director, Jerry Beck, METAL-ITY is intended to create a bridge between the past, present and future: from Maynard’s mill town history forged during the Industrial Revolution, to its current role as a growing cultural district, to its future as a progressive center for creative revolution, sparking a renaissance of cultural vitality and economic growth. METAL- ITY will feature the interplay between art and nature while offering bountiful opportunities for learning, while engaging in limitless art and community celebration.
“Great art can be found everywhere if you look hard enough. I felt like a human metal detector searching for treasures in major cities and small towns, on the internet, in people’s basements, in schools, even in junk yards,” said Beck, “I wanted to totally transform ArtSpace’s beautiful campus so that the public could achieve a meaningful and playful aesthetic experience.”
Curated mostly via word of mouth, Beck traveled throughout New England engaging with well-established sculptors and self-taught artists, high school welding students, and even Beck’s neighbors were invited to contribute to this inclusive and eclectic showcase. Found sculptures by unidentified artists are also incorporated in this bountiful and varied collection.
A sampling of METAL-ITY artists:
Visionary artist Joseph Ferguson’s work has been associated with the words experimental, futuristic, dream-like, scientific, and otherworldly. At METAL-ITY, Ferguson will display two of his large-scale public artworks: Seven Stars, a 10-foot-tall geometric, organic, metal and glass sculpture; and Narwhal, a 7-foot-tall by 17-foot-long metal sculpture offering an abstracted yet space-age aesthetic. www.josephferguson.com
Internationally recognized artist Barry Freedland’s kinetic sculpture, Compass, unveils his ongoing fascination with the intersection of time, technology, and human abilities. Freedland created a group of 4-foot-tall compasses to respond to the coronavirus, emphasizing the importance of keeping a safe distance from one another and alluding to the direction we need to go as a society. www.barryfreedland.com
Gints Grinbergs presents a series of organic sculptures derived from the universal forms found throughout the cosmos. Building from recycled materials, his work explores the macroscopic and microscopic, from galaxies to molecules, and the dynamic yet architectural qualities found in nature. www.gintsgrinbergs.com
Well-known steel sculptor Madeleine Lord has installed four of her highly personal and colorful pieces. Walk the Walk is dedicated to the Parkland School shooting survivors who spoke out about guns and regulation. Cool is modeled on a Haitian refugee electrician who brought light into her house. www.madeleinelord.com
Yvette Monstad, a self-taught artist who makes steel sculpture from recycled objects and is the Founder & Director of BABACOOL ARTS (French slang for “hippie”). For this exhibition, Yvette uses heat and fire, cuts steel with a plasma cutter, and welds items together to make powerful artworks using shovels, a car hood, and grain delivery tubes. www.babacoolyvette.com
Conceptual artist Dianne Pappas has created a site-specific sculptural installation entitled Seas and Yous. Drawing on the lexicon of Melville’s Moby Dick and Isamu Noguchi’s socially reflective sculpture, Pappas plays with the perception and capabilities of “metal” in her new installation. The artist invites participants to recline, repose and rejuvenate. diannepappas.com
Sculptor and poet Patrick Pierce’s three abstract sculptures capture the tension between the organic, flowing forms of nature-in-harmony with the geometric, analytic forms of the mind. Pierce states, in discussing hammering, carving, bending and shaping material to his will, “I am following a script that unfolds as I read it. The work itself is the script. As improvisational as a jazz riff.” www.patrickpierce.com
One of the highlights of the exhibition is the exceptional artwork of welding students from Assabet Valley Vocational High School, based in Marlborough, MA. The students created a surrealistic gateway of steel sculptures that will lead the public into an open-air gallery, that showcases their immensity of talents, skills, technical virtuosity, and personal imagery. Their work includes musical instruments, spider webs, vehicles of travel, medieval iconography and strange plumbing devices. assabet.org
Other participating artists include: Kevin Boussom, Justin Cameron, Benjamin Caras, Bob Caras, Raymond Cardogno, Chautin, Carolyn Demers, Randal Gardner, Jean-Luc Godard, Joe Marandino, Charles Mayer, Dawson Mineau, Paul Orrizzi, Nicole Peskin, Robert Pittman, Jeremie Pocachard, Michael Savignano, Margot Slowick, Ed Wagner, and Eric Zeller.
The METAL-ITY opening festival on September 19th will also include a carnival of colorful, interactive art-mobiles made from steel, including: 17-year-old African artist Sam Piazza’s Hybrid Flying See-Saw, that tells a story about his journey as a young artist; Joel Bourgeois’ Sparky-The Race Car, a four-foot-long vintage toy truck, equipped with a working motor and with the ability to emit sparks; African American artist/educator Darren T. Wells will feature his award-winning Mask Up-Speak Out art-mobile activist project, featuring a giant 10-head sculpture and kinetic artworks focused on racial justice.
In addition, a new 10-foot-high by 18-foot-long traveling gallery will showcase a public art mural by painter George Herman. His project Transit/and Other incorporates a photographic montage of ten 4-foot by 4-foot portraits, and explores the anger, sadness, numbness, and fragility of human emotions caused by a pandemic, economic crisis, and rising anger over racial injustice. On the interior of the traveling gallery will be Amanda Loebelenz’s VOICE, an interactive and multi-media project inspired by the voices of racial minorities who have lost their lives due to racial discrimination. The goal of this project is provide a loving tribute to those who can no longer tell their stories.