“We opened our land as a park last year, but I came here to make sculpture forty-four years ago,” David Stromeyer says by way of introduction to the group collected in front of the Welcome Barn at Cold Hollow Sculpture Park. It is a cloudy, temperate afternoon for the opening of the Park’s 2015 season. For the next three months, Stromeyer opens his land and sculptures for touring. And every month, there will be a “Walking Conversation” with Stromeyer and a nationally-known, local expert.
For the opening tour, we headed down the driveway and paused by a stately, unpainted steel sculpture, small by today’s standards, called One More Cut, Boo. “The last piece I made when my house and studio were still in the little horse and pig barn,” Stromeyer said. “After a few years I built the big studio up the hill. Back then, I wanted to keep close to steel’s raw, structural properties.”
Walking a bit further, we gathered around the newly sited, Passacaglia. Its metallic-painted ovoid shape danced overhead. When you hear the word metallic, you might think bright and harsh, and yet this piece subtly reflected the hues of sky and grass, particularly on this cloudy day.
We came to the house in another few yards, where uphill a kinetic wave of steel appeared to furl and unfurl with the wind. The curves and off-center angle of placement made the rigid appear fluid. “I used to make model airplanes as a kid,” Stromeyer commented. “I got the idea to make this like an airplane wing, with a ribbed inner structure, to be wind-sensitive.”
Further along we passed Swingin’ Easy, a sculpture made up of four gracefully twisted plates that touch, creating an interior. A young woman from the group stepped inside one opening and emerged from another. “I’m always interested in sculpture’s ability to explore where exterior ends and interior begins,” Stromeyer said, “and how we experience that transition.”
Next to the studio, we saw ovoid shapes in raw steel, bolted into sections that bear Stromeyer’s yellow crayon markings that indicate what connects where. “CG” for center of gravity is to remind him of how the pieces need to be lifted. This will become Arpeggio, but not until it goes through the laborious process of sand blasting the surface, then priming and painting. To understand this, we gathered in front of the studio where the overhead door rises to reveal huge sections hung from a crane — ghost-like in their coating of grey primer. On a small table in front of a suspended section sat an inch-to-foot scale model of the piece this will become.
The tour ended here, a perfect segue to the next “Walking Conversation” when David Stromeyer will be joined by Kory Rogers, Curator of Design at the Shelburne Museum, to explore Craft and Fine Art: meetings and divergences; Saturday, July 25th, at 2 PM. Bring a picnic to enjoy before or after. Admission is always free.
2015 “Walking Conversations” Dates (all tours start at 2PM):
AUGUST 8 / Julia Shipley, writer, poet and farmer, and David will discuss the nature-sculpture relationship.
SEPTEMBER 12 / Composer and conductor, Andrew Massey, will speak with David about form, function, and rhythm in sculpture and music.
OCTOBER 3 / Jason Bates, Professor or Medicine and a biomedical engineer at University of Vermont, and David will explore the similarities between artistic and scientific practice.
All photos courtesy of David Stromeyer and Cold Hollow Sculpture Park