Next to Meeting House
Faceted Rock is the first in a series of large-scale sculptures informed by artist David Stromeyer’s two-year exploration of a single Vermont fieldstone. “It represents, in all kinds of ways, almost spiritually, exploring [this field stone’s] density and shape, etcetera,” Stromeyer explained.
The 46 facets of this monolith feature a metallic paint that fractures natural light across its bold geometry, highlighting its abstract form. Epitomizing Stromeyer’s expressive and technical dexterity working with steel, Faceted Rock embodies the soul and identity of place and maker.
For more than five decades, Stromeyer has created sculptures whose graphic forms, saturated colors, and complex, balanced compositions seem to defy steel’s material limits. Despite the weight of their materials and construction—including welded, cold-bent, half-ton steel plates—many of Stromeyer’s sculptures play with space and perception; they seem to defy gravity, appearing to float and extend upwards effortlessly in the landscape.
David Stromeyer, Faceted Rock, 2004. Steel, epoxy, and metallic paint, 8 1/2 x 9 x 11 3/16 ft. Collection of Shelburne Museum, museum purchase, made possible by a gift from Todd R. Lockwood. 2022-2.
In front of Vermont House
“I’m a maker; I’m also an admirer of things well made. Over the years, I’ve chosen to make things that I love. I find the subjects of my sculpture in real life; a shoe, a camera, a clock, a ruler…made to a scale that is one-to-one, it’s human scale.” –Peter Kirkiles
Sculptor Peter Kirkiles plays with the scale and materials of everyday objects. Whether an exact replica of an antique tall clock made in weathering steel, a measuring rule enlarged ten times its normal size, or a Studebaker truck shrunken down to the dimensions of a toy, his sculptures invite us to view the familiar in new and unexpected ways. The artist’s appreciation of the formal qualities of useful objects such as hand tools is evident in the detail and precision of his sculptures and their individual component parts.
Peter Kirkiles, Beading Plane, 2016. Weathering steel, stainless steel, and bronze on tinted lacquer hot dipped galvanized base, 72 x 48 x 24 in. Collection of Shelburne Museum, museum purchase. 2021-3. Photography by Andy Duback.
Art making is a social responsibility. To honor the privilege of being an artist, there are expectations I have for my work. First, it needs to be entertaining; second, it needs to spark curiosity, so that it creates a dialogue with the viewer; and third, it should have a formal quality, so that when the work is or approximates furniture, it must be comfortable. The dialogue around art is the most complex; most work achieves this dialogue in the visual/ethereal plane. My recent sculptures, which function as furniture, focus on the physical. During the interaction between the viewer and the work of art a sense of sharing occurs, where the senses are alerted and a primal experience is generated by being on/in the work. A feeling of bliss, a surprise, a sense of oneness and belonging exists. After the initial shock of the experience comes the inevitable investigation on the part of the viewer, and what was once limited to the eyes is now open to the flesh. I have made objects of radiance with money – the material that makes the world go round. These, flat hard shiny coins in a circular format, which have been touched, hoarded, traveled, and traded for goods and services are now released from their original burden. Assembled together to form the furniture they become part of the play in swirls, lines, and patterns. Sometimes, simple and subtle designs are often the best solutions, and for me, the least pursued pathways to success. The push and pull of this Storm King Bench has the feeling of waves washing ashore. My work has never been so much at peace as it is with this bench. The curve and jocularity of the leg structure continue the flow of the bench to the ground creating a truly inviting place to rest. – Bench Space, 2018
Johnny Swing, Storm King Bench, 2017. Welded nickels and stainless steel, 22 x 65 x 24 in. Collection of Shelburne Museum, gift of John Carter, David Eskenazi and R & Company in memory of Jennifer Lynn McNary. 2021-5.
Edith Barretto Stevens Parsons, Turtle Baby, 1910-16. Bronze and lead, 32 in. Collection of Shelburne Museum, gift of Dunbar Bostwick. 1986-32. Photography by Andy Duback.
Edith Barretto Stevens Parsons, Birdbath, ca. 1920. Bronze, 40 1/2 x 32 x 15 in. Collection of Shelburne Museum, museum purchase, from the Estate of J. Watson Webb, Jr. BH-2560. Photography by Andy Duback.
In 1948, one year after founding Shelburne Museum, Electra Havemeyer Webb wrote, “I want [Shelburne Museum] to be an educational project, varied and alive, that will instill in those who visit a deeper understanding and appreciation in heritage.” Commissioned to celebrate the Museum’s 75th anniversary, Nancy Winship Milliken: Varied and Alive, is a site-specific outdoor sculpture exhibition that embodies the Museum’s commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability while also engaging in global and local ecological conversations, from climate change to Lake Champlain’s watershed history. Installed within a pollinator meadow planted for this exhibition, Winship Milliken’s four monumental post-and-beam structures feature different natural materials intrinsic to the land, all of which explore themes related to sustainability: horsehair, wool, beeswax, and driftwood. Activated by the wind and sun, each sculpture uniquely moves, changes, and adapts to the environment, inspiring community conversations surrounding our roles within and relationships to nature.
Nancy Winship Milliken: Varied and Alive, installation at Shelburne Museum, 2022. Courtesy of the artist.
In front of Electra Havemeyer Webb Memorial and Museum Security
Unidentified maker, Eagle on Rock, 19th century. Copper, 32 x 76 1/2 in. Collection of Shelburne Museum, gift of Mrs. Lyman Delano. 1961-21.
In Front of Horseshoe Barn
Unidentified maker, Danby Water Fountain, Before 1911. Iron. Collection of Shelburne Museum, gift of Danby-Mount Tabor Fire District No. 1. 1953-332.