Sunday afternoon, I had the pleasure of meeting a soft spoken woman, delicate in stature, named Jody Kendall. We had a brief conversation about the exhibited work and quickly discovered that we shared a unique connection and obviously, a passion for art. Also we had both created works entitled, "Fly". Jody's was a 3-dimensional metal mesh torso with wings and mine, a series of paintings each featuring a child, blowing a "breath of inspiration." Somehow even our art, seemed related in concept and spirit.
Jody, a fellow member of TAWA and an artist herself, volunteers as a docent at the Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ. She generously invited me to visit and offered to personally escort me about the magical 35 acre sculpture gardens. I accepted and had the opportunity to see her on August 27th. Both the weather and the tour were perfect! Jody's knowledge about the sculptors and their work, was astounding. She is agifted storyteller. She spoke of each artist as though they were a dear friend with words that were poetic and meaningful.
If you haven't had the opportunity to visit GFS, you are in for a treat. GFS was "founded in 1992 on the site of the former New Jersey State Fairgrounds by J. Seward Johnson to promote an understanding of and appreciation for contemporary sculpture for all people." The landscape is breathtaking and the art work superb. Each season offers a unique visual experience of this sculptural wonderland. Visitors are encouraged to touch many of the pieces with respect and care.
As I ran my hand along the surface of many of the works, feeling the smoothness of stone or the warmth of cast bronze, heated by the radiant sun, I thought of Carol Saylor. As a blind artist, she relies on the sense of touch, to create and experience her world and her art. She would love it here. I think she would particularly appreciate Leonda Finke's two cast bronzes, Standing Figure and Seated Figure from her "Women in the Sun Series". The surface texture is sensual, almost crude, but there is strength and raw feminity within these figures. Jody explained that Leonda Finke's "women" were symbolic of gratitude. Looking upward, "posed in self reflection",their faces bask in sunlight, greeting a new day, a new season, giving thanks. Simply beautiful!
There was an abundance of art to which I would like to refer but the joy really comes from
discovering the work on your own. The art is monumental, rich and diverse. The stories behind the career of many of these sculptors, seem to have been inspired by personal epiphanic moments that led them to choose the creation of art as their life's "work." For most artists, there is no other option. It is an expression of who and what they are. For me, it is no longer an option, It is an incredible blessing for which I am grateful. I am thankful for those who guided me toward this path.
Jody introduced me to several people throughout the day at GFS as an artist who
believes that we can all "fly." I sincerely do believe that! I hope that everyone has the opportunity to discover what makes them soar. To Jody, a genuine "thank you" and wishes always for self growth, healing and liberation! May we all fly!