(STOCKBRIDGE, Mass.) – A Sea Feeling In The Mountains, a solo exhibition of photographic work by artist and gallerist Cassandra Sohn,. is on view at two locations: Sohn Fine Art Gallery (through October 29, 2012) and Chesterwood (through October 8, 2012). Both organizations are presenting this exhibition in collaboration with the City of Pittsfield and Berkshire Historical Society’s Call Me Melville festival. Thirty percent of sales from the show will be donated to the nonprofit Chesterwood – A National Trust Historic Site. Opening receptions will be held at both locations on Saturday, August 11, 2012, at Sohn Fine Art Gallery (6 Elm St.) from 1 to 3 p.m. and at Chesterwood (4 Williamsville Rd.) from 3 to 5 p.m..
The Berkshire Mountains in Western Massachusetts were a strong source of inspiration for some of the most historic 19th century New England writers and artists such as Herman Melville, Daniel Chester French, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, William Cullen Bryant, Thomas Cole, and Asher B. Durand.
The landscape, and in particular Monument Mountain, Mount Greylock and Ice Glen, left immortal impressions on these artists and their works. Many of them were also influenced by the sea. The connections between land and water were often symbolically intertwined and played a vital role in their personal lives as well as their artistic expressions.
Cassandra Sohn followed in these master’s footsteps by hiking the same paths, visiting their homes, and studying their works, approaching each with the pursuit of a larger meaning and interpretation. She explored the many visual, conceptual and emotional connections in their writings, artworks and relationships. These elements produced a contemporary body of work that is rooted in their sources of inspiration, but born from a new perspective.
Herman Melville’s view of Mount Greylock from his home, Arrowhead, spawned his physical description of Moby Dick. Daniel Chester French purchased his property in Stockbridge because of its exquisite backdrop of Monument Mountain, which both calmed and inspired him. Sohn, now Melville’s age when he wrote the novel, found relics of the great white whale echoed visually throughout the Berkshire landscape. Her visits to Chesterwood produced photographs that embody the sense of solace and wonderment she felt while on the grounds. As Sohn continued to study these 19th century artist’s works, she found undertones of struggle, darkness, questions of humanity and identity, and searches for meaning. She surrendered to these concepts, and visually interpreted her responses, creating work with complex, or tangled qualities, using light to emphasize the queries. Images such as The Storm were photographed on the Atlantic Coast and in homage to Durand and Cole’s dark and torrent seascapes.
In her search to capture her own elusive whale, Sohn took photographs that often leave the viewer questioning what is around the corner, beyond the horizon, or farther down the path. Growing up in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Santa Fe, N.M., and now calling the Berkshires home, Sohn has a strong connection to the mountains, but has always been drawn to the sea, which is present in much of her work. This series bridges her union between the two. Her photograph, A Sea Feeling in the Mountains, exemplifies this union. It was shot atop Mount Greylock during sunset and features layers of blue mountains tumbling like giant waves.
In addition to the exhibitions of Sohn’s work, ArtBerkshires will present a talk and tour of the exhibition on Wednesday, August 1, from 10 am to 4 pm, at multiple arts organizations in Stockbridge. Cassandra Sohn is the host of the event, which is titled Covet: Meet Me At Norman Rockwell Museum and Chesterwood.
Sohn Fine Art will feature two photography workshops associated with the exhibition, both taught by Cassandra Sohn. Monument Mountain Hike will take place in conjunction with Arrowhead Museum on August 5, from 8 am to noon, the historical date Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne met. Narrative in Place will run two Sundays, September 23 and 30, at Chesterwood and Mount Greylock. This workshop includes entrance fees plus dinner and a slideshow of student’s work Sunday night at Bascom Lodge. Full course descriptions can be found at Sohn Fine Art Gallery. Paper for the work in this exhibition was made possible through the generosity of Innova Art Ltd, manufacturer of premium digital fine art papers.