Artists are In Their Element at Shelburne Museum

(Shelburne, Vermont) Shelburne Museum is thrilled to present In Their Element: Jonathan D. Ebinger, Rodrigo Nava, Dan Snow, an outdoor installation featuring the evocative work of three contemporary artists on view across the Museum’s expansive campus, from May 1 through October 31, 2019. These captivating sculptures complement and amplify one another through their shared engagement with fire, wind, and earth – subjects of fascination since antiquity. Exploring themes ranging from the anatomy of wildlife, the buoyancy of inflated steel forms, to the relationship between site-specific stone structures within the natural environment, Ebinger, Nava, and Snow push the boundaries of their respective materials and processes, revealing new experimentation with these classical elements.

Jonathan D. Ebinger (New York)

Jonathan D. Ebinger—a trained artist and professional welder—breathes life into the forms of wild animals. Building the bodies one piece at a time, the artist creates his lively sculptures by welding assemblages of familiar hardware materials, such as nuts, bolts, washers, and rods. Out of these collages of geometric shapes, Ebinger creates haunting works of art capturing the soul of the animals by carefully rendering their anatomy and simulating movements. It is the artist’s aim to make an animal “seem to come alive as I make it and complete it.” On view in In Their Element, Ebinger’s menagerie of Elk, Wolf, and his most recent work, Bear and Cub, meet visitors’ gaze while nestled in the shadows of the trees near Beach Gallery and Lodge at Shelburne Museum.

Rodrigo Nava (Vermont)

Working together with both physical materials and transparent gases, Nava’s abstract works of art are born of of his unique artistic process. The artist explores the relationship between human-made welded steel forms and controlled explosions through his hard-edged geometric forms and a chemical reaction that informs and shapes the final works of art. Nava creates his nonrepresentational sculptures by welding sheets of steel together into an airtight bond apart from a single entry point. From this interior access, he fills the cavernous forms with volatile gas, resulting in a controlled combustion. In effect, the once-rigid sculptures expand under the pressurized reaction, creating swollen steel works that appear at once permeable—as if they could be popped like a balloon—and impenetrable. Nava’s sculptures are the result of the partnership “between material, process, artist, and viewers.”

In Their Element features seven of Nava’s steel sculptures from his ongoing series Expanded Forms. Cascading down one of the gentle slopes on the Museum grounds, the works of art engage visitors to question how the objects were created and their how the appear in a continuous state of static movement.

Dan Snow (Vermont)

For over four decades, Dan Snow has been collaborating with nature to create sculptural installations built to complement and engage within site-specific environments. Often working with natural land formations and dry stone, Snow finds endless inspiration in “combing mastercraftman skills with sculptural artistry to bring new geological forms into the natural world.” The new ecological installations incite visitors to experience organic material in new ways, but they also assist in completing the works of art. Snow believes “the works stand alone as a sculpture, [but they] come alive when engage by visitors to their environs.”

Nestled in a pine grove at the Museum, Snow will create the site-specific installation Fantasy Topography, “an ode to the curves, folds, and fractures of Earth’s crust.” Informed by nature’s physical rhythms, textures, and shifting shapes, this installation of a thoughtful assemblage of varying stones is built up off the ground and crests into new peaks. These ephemeral organic growths are a “syncopated echo of Earth’s steady old heartbeat” created to be experienced around and within a shared “temporary geologic event.”

What: In Their Element: Jonathan D. Ebinger, Rodrigo Nava, Dan Snow exhibition (outdoor sculpture)
When: May 1 – October 31, 2019
Where: Shelburne Museum Grounds
Who: Curated by Carolyn Bauer


Founded in 1947 by pioneering folk art collector Electra Havemeyer Webb (1888–1960), Shelburne Museum is the largest art and history museum in northern New England and Vermont’s foremost public resource for visual art and material culture. The Museum is now open year-round, with the Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education and Webb Gallery featuring important American paintings by Andrew Wyeth, Winslow Homer, Grandma Moses, John Singleton Copley, and many more. For more information, please visit

Shelburne Museum

6000 Shelburne Road or PO Box 10

Shelburne, VT 05482

802-985-3346 ###