BETTY WOODMAN: IN THE GARDEN
IMAGINE YOURSELF IN THE MIDDLE of a 28-acre garden, resting on a long bronze bench amidst the shrubs and trees. Once you enter Betty Woodman’s latest exhibition, In the Garden, you are immersed in this setting. Hosted by Greenwood Gardens, a historic public venue surrounded by the South Mountain Reservation in Short Hills, New Jersey, the show features six cast-bronze benches designed with exaggerated cutouts and vine-like armrests that are painted in beautiful earthy colors, a singular bronze table, and two decorated outdoor clay flowerpots.
The exhibition encourages visitors to look, touch, sit, and even lie down on the benches, rather than just viewing them, as in a traditional museum display. “Here she transforms bronze— traditionally a medium of high art—into functional objects intended for use and delight,” says Patterson Sims, former director of the Montclair Art Museum and curator of In the Garden, about Woodman’s exhibit.
In the Garden is one of the world-renowned ceramic artist’s first forays into the use of bronze. “Bronze interested me because it is a material that always starts as something else, such as clay or wax. Clay into bronze seemed like a natural step for me to make as I needed something that could go outdoors,” she says. Greenwood Gardens has proven to be a great location for sculpture exhibitions. Two years ago it hosted Art in Nature: A Collaboration of Greenwood Gardens & Studio Montclair, which featured thirty-nine sculptures by thirty-one artists. With Woodman’s unique art-making skills, this installation will surely be just as successful. It is open until November 15. greenwoodgardens.org