Berkshire Art Museum Kicks Off Season With 'Volume'
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Berkshire Art Museum enters its fourth summer season by taking up selective space.
The multidisciplinary "Volume" brings together pieces from 30 artists, ranging from spare stainless steel to light to interactive works that bring to mind Rube Golberg and penny arcades. An artists' reception is set Thursday, during Downstreet Art's summer launch, and includes a performance by the Berkshire Hills Chorus in the sanctuary of the former church at 7 p.m.
"For the last three years, we had a couple minor sculptures but most of the work we had shown was hanging on the wall," said BAM's founder and artist Eric Rudd. "I like things that are related, and a lot of my things are sculptures. ... It's all about sclupture, it's all about volume. ...
"The whole concept of working three-dimensionally is such a different way of apporaching art ... you're walking around, you're handling materials, you're carving, you're welding. That's all interesting."
The exhibit over three floors is presented in four sections: large works inside and out ("Esculturas Grandes"), smaller works on pedestals ("Esculturas de Mesa"), ceramic pieces ("Vessels"), and architectural models and drawings ("Models in Miniature").
The artists exhibiting work are Daniel Bellow, Keith Bona, Rebekah Diamantopoulos, Peter Dudek, Jan Edwards, Patricia Fietta, Patrick Horsley, Howard Itzkowitz, Connie Kiener, Robert Kieronski, David Lachman, George Le Maitre, Paul McMullan, Taj Mongiardo, Linda O'Brien, Opie O'Brien, Derek Parker, Aysha Peltz, Len Poliandro, Henry Richardson, Lynn Richardson, Linda Ruberto, Gail Kolls Sellers, Phil Sellers, Maria Siskind, Max Spitzer, William Sweet, Natalie Tyler, Todd Wahlstrom and Robert Wilk.
Some of the works, such as those by William Sweet and Keith Bona, have appeared before. A number of artists are local to the region, including George Le Maitre and Patricia Fietta, Gail and Phil Sellers and Peter Dudek, and the exhibit introduces new-to-the-area artists Lynn Richardson and Paul McMullan, owners of Gravity Gallery on Eagle Street.
"As the exhibitions demonstrate the diversity and quality of the sculptural art being made, I hope visitors will be enticed to explore the galleries and view the works from all angles," Rudd writes in the essay introducing the exhibit.
Exploring is something Rudd hopes to encourage for both out-of-town visitors and residents. The former Methodist church has nooks and crannies — such as the Tower Gallery that hosts "Vessels" with its stained glass light from three sides — sanctuary's massive space with Rudd's permanent pieces to the third floor with room for both large and small works.
"You want people to wander and explore, up and down," he said, adding he likes having enough territory for patrons to view and move around pieces.
While Rudd's known for his large-scale works, he said he also likes to show more intimate works. The idea for "Vessels" was somewhat inspired by his late mother, worked in pottery. He called on the Sellers and BAM advisory board member, Arthur De Bow, all potters, for guidance in the artist selections.
"Many of the works installed from the permanent collection are sculptural, or paintings that venture into 3-D through illusionistic perspective and/or relief," Rudd writes in his opening essay. "Therefore, it felt appropriate to survey how other artists have created in 3-D space. There are so many talented artists working regionally, it was not difficult to find interesting work."
The biggest change this year is an admission charge for non-Berkshire residents of $5 adults, $3 for senior citizens, as a way to put some worth on the institution.
"Every year, we increase visitation, I want more visitation, it's always a struggle because there's not enough traffic on Main Street and that's been the case for 19 years," Rudd said. "I think the thing we've done is we've really anchored the downtown and encouraged people to come up."
And, he added, "what I'm happy about is I think the museum has matured."
The Berkshire Art Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 5.
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