The Laumeister Art Center at Southern Vermont College presents exhibitions by Ben Karp and Nina Karp September 1st through November 11th. The opening reception is Friday, September 14th, from 4:30 to 7:00 pm.
Ben Karp, whose sculptures were exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other major institutions throughout the world, spent several years photographing sawn ornamentation found on houses built from the 1820s to 1910. In his 1966 book, “Wood Motifs in American Domestic Architecture: ‘Phantasy in Wood,’” he wrote, “In the nineteenth century, the humble woodsaw in the hands of a skilled carpenter became the tool of an artist, the instrument by which sawn ornamentation came into its own in the domestic architecture of America.”
“Song of the Saw” presents Ben Karp’s artistic vision and his keen sense of what he described as new ways of seeing. Karp continued, “It was the use of the saw as artist’s tool that led to the growth of sawn ornament as architectural embellishment of the home. But if the American people had not liked this carpenter sculpture, this song of the saw would never have been sung.”
On display are original photographs from “Wood Motifs in American Domestic Architecture: ‘Phantasy in Wood’” and wooden sculptures informed by these photographs.
Nina Karp is an inter-disciplinary artist who has performed as an actor, singer, and composer in New York, South Dakota, and Paris, and exhibited her work in New York. She is also a poet. As an educator, she has innovated arts in education programs for children, and taught people of all ages. She currently lives in East Hoosick, N.Y.
The artist says of “Elegy For The Lost City,” “This is my first video. It is a tribute to my first home in New York City, a working class neighborhood where the meat packing industry was located, and where some artists, writers and performers had moved in and made live-work spaces out of empty factory lofts. It is a lyrical homage to the place where I began my life as a public artist, a place that no longer exists as it was. The rent, now prohibitive to all but a privileged few, was cheap and there was time to dream and then to turn those dreams into art.
Although the video is not a social documentary in any literal sense, it evokes the experience of one arriving in a new place. Just as my grandparents arrived in New York at Ellis Island and saw what they could not have imagined before, I found myself, in making this video, seeing a long familiar urban landscape differently. And just as my ancestors came to find a new way of life, in a new world, I, with many others, was a creative immigrant in this open city. The river, the buildings, the sky, the trees that I once saw in their ordinary forms while living among them became the subject of abstraction. The art evolved bit by bit; first out of nostalgia, returning as a visitor to my former living place, I was creating a dream landscape out of the concrete, solid appearance of the city.”