(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – Beyond the Landscape, an exhibition of work by Connecticut-based artist Bryan Nash Gill, will open on Saturday, January 14, 2012, at Berkshire Museum and be on view through May 28, 2012. There will be an artist’s reception, free and open to the public, on January 14 from 5 to 7 p.m.
Gill creates abstract sculptures, works on paper, and installations that are inextricably bound to the materials and inspiration he finds in nature, working and living in a rural New England setting. Massive sections of tree trunks are cut and carved; branches and leaves are re-interpreted in bronze; and the growth rings on cross-sections of trees are inked and transferred to hand-made paper.
A continuation of the museum’s commitment to showing work by contemporary artists whose pieces are inspired by nature and/or explore the connections between culture and nature, this exhibition also evokes a sense of place and speaks to an appreciation for the beauty of the distinctive landscape in our region of New England.
“Bryan Nash Gill’s work inherently conveys an authentic sense of place derived from his careful observation and unique artistic interpretation of our regional environment,” says Van Shields, executive director of Berkshire Museum. “It strongly resonates with our mission to make connections among art, history, and natural science and I know that will be appreciated by our visitors during the show.”
“I take materials from the landscape, out of their original context, and restructure them, taking them apart and putting them back together, a process that helps me understand my relationship, between my studio and the outside world,” says Gill. “When people view my work, I bring them into this dialogue, asking them to learn their landscape. My goal is to engage people in the process of looking and examining our bonds with the living world.”
In Gill’s distinctive, compelling large-scale works, found objects, from branches, vines, and pine needles to tree trunks, are transformed into sculpture or are incorporated into installations and assemblages.
“Gill’s obvious love for the trees and forests of his native Connecticut is apparent in his compelling prints and sculptures,” says Maria Mingalone, director of interpretation and curator of the exhibition. “Artwork that resonates with respect and appreciation for nature and the environment shares the message that observing and interacting with the natural world is not only important, but aesthetically rewarding,”
Gill’s bronze sculptures echo forms and textures from nature; other pieces are created by altering natural materials, as when large blocks of wood are carved into spheres, cages, or pillars.
The works on paper are produced when Gill selects a cross-section of tree trunk and then painstakingly inks the textured surface and transfers the pattern to handmade paper, rubbing by hand, resulting in a meticulous print of the growth rings and patterns. The life-size prints reveal distinctive characteristics of each tree – ash, maple, oak – as well as a sense of the cycle of life in the Connecticut woods.
“Bryan Nash Gill is not simply a naturalist, he is an artist rooted in nature; he draws his vocabulary from the world of New England’s woods,” wrote Pat Rosoff, art critic for the Hartford Advocate.
Bryan Nash Gill currently maintains his studio in the same northwestern corner of Connecticut where he grew up. His sculptures and drawings are heavily influenced by the New England countryside but also by geographical regions from Carrara, Italy, and New Orleans, Louisiana, to northern California, where he has lived and worked. Gill earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Tulane University in 1984 and his Masters of Fine Arts from the California College of the Arts in Oakland four years later.
Gill has showed his work at many exhibitions and galleries across the United States, including a solo show at the New Britain Museum of American Art, and at the prestigious DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln, Mass. Gill is a two-time recipient of the Individual Artists Grant from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts. He was commissioned to create an installation for the American Pavilion at the World’s Fair in Aichi, Japan, in 2005.
Gill’s work is in many private and public collections, including IBM Corporation in New York, Kaiser Permanente Medical Facility in Fairfield, California, and the Boston Public Library.
Berkshire Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Regular museum admission is $13 for adults and $6 for children. Members and children aged three and under enjoy free admission. For more information, visit Berkshire Museum or call 413.443.7171.
Berkshire Museum is the first public museum in Berkshire County, established by Zenas Crane in 1903 as a museum of Art and Natural History. Taking Flight; Audubon and the World of Birds will be on view January 21 through June 17, 2012. Little Cinema is open year-round. Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation, Aquarium, Alexander Calder Gallery, and other exhibits are ongoing.