16th annual sculpture show decorates North Bennington


NORTH BENNINGTON -- What do a State Senator, a tree trimmer and a chair caner have in common? They are all sculptors whose work is on view at the 16th Bennington Sculpture Show. This event had an opening in July and continues to draw crowds of people: people who love sculpture as well as those who see some interesting shapes in a park and want to take a closer look.

Joe Chirchirillo, a local sculpture whose work is shown throughout the Northeast and in Europe, curates the show.

"The NB Sculpture Show is an important event for the community" said Chirchirillo. "There are several reasons for that. First of all, the show has been going on for 16 years. There is enormous value in the history and duration of this event. People look forward to showing and viewing the works that are placed here. Secondly, it offers and opportunity to build community."

"Artists look for ways to connect amongst themselves and with the larger community" he continued. "This event really draws people into a dialogue with each other and that is very rewarding. The show is also part of the local economy: bringing people into this wonderful area to see art but also to eat out, stay and enjoy parts of our area. We advertised this as far away as the Hudson Valley and the Berkshires. Last but not least is the fact that as a sculptor, it is really important for me to continue the tradition of three-dimensional work. So much art is now photography or digital design. Sculpture is about a person working with materials to reflect a creative process. Each piece is unique and reveals information about material, process and imagination. This is important to remember in these times when so much of what we see is on a screen."

According to Paula Kautz LaPorte, whose pieces hang from the outside rafters of the North Bennington Train Station, "’Princess Valentine’ is a kinetic, green bicycle sculpture co-created by myself and Arla Foster to celebrate joyful love." "Princess Valentine" is one of 12 bicycle sculptures created by LaPorte and Foster as their interpretation of the Grimm’s fairy tale "The Twelve Dancing Princesses."

Another unusual piece by Franc Palaia incorporates solar-powered illuminated photos. Inspired by innovations in the developing world that use bottles to bring light into their dark houses, his "Bottle Bulb Photo Tower" construction is a tower of antique trunks where the top trunk’s transparencies are illuminated by the sun by way of plastic soda bottle bulbs. Michelle Vara uses re-claimed material that support her belief that "objects capture energy, spirit and history." Her work is concerned with learning, remembering, thinking and understanding. She explores relationships between what is (experiential and tangible) with what is metaphorical and story based. Another sculptor in the show uses a poem to enlighten the viewer about his piece; " Evening, strolling down a narrow cobbled street, the sound of flamenco guitar and castanets floats above everything." Come and see what you think! The show is free and open 7 days a week from dawn to dusk at the park next to the North Bennington Post Office.

Sculpture is on view until Oct. 25. For more information contact Joe Chirchirillo at jrc373@comcast.net.


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