Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ

This scary bigger-than-lifesize sculpture by Seward Johnson is as yet unnamed, but if you have
 an idea, Grounds for Sculpture wants to hear it. Note the contents of the steaming cauldron!

If anyone asks you to go to Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, you should
  1. Go.
  2. Don't wear sandals.
Go because it is a quirky, remarkable, one-of-a-kind place that will look different every time you go because of changing exhibits and changing nature. Don't wear sandals because many of the paths are gravel and larger stones and this becomes a challenge of grace and dexterity. Do bring the camera because besides the art itself there are vistas, flowers, trees, buildings, and peacocks to photograph.
A unique peacock perspective
Grounds for Sculpture is the creation of renowned sculptor Seward Johnson who acquired the old New Jersey Fairgrounds for his atelier and his clever park in the 1980s. The park has grown over the years since it opened in 1992 and its landscapes have changed dramatically. We old-timers who remember when the State Fair was in Trenton (actually Hamilton) until the 1970s would never recognize the place except that some of the original buildings have been re-purposed for indoor galleries and have kept their original State-Fair names.

Margie and Fred having some fun with Autin Wright's Lunar Brilliance (1979) in front of the
 Domestic Arts Building (1920s).
Most of the sites are outside along paths or hidden in little compartments formed by a variety of unusual trees. One could spend all day meandering, and sitting on benches contemplating, or imagining how to replicate a Chamber of Internal Dialogue in your yard. According to GFS's "Park Etiquette" document, photography is permitted, even encouraged, as long as it is for personal use only. I interpret this to include a humble non-monetized blog such as this, especially when citations are supplied. Here are more samples:

The Nine Muses (1990-7) by Carlos Dorrien, a nice place to sit and chill
Detail of Seated Figure from Womaen in the Sun (1988) by Leonda Finke (near The Nine Muses above)
On Poppied Hill (1999) by Seward Johnson (she's bigger than lifesize; the poppies are real)
Dana Stewart's What Was That? (1997)
So if someone suggests a ride over to Hamilton Township's Grounds for Sculpture, you're going, right?

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