PLATFORM 5 Bartow + Metzga at the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum

The DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum presents PLATFORM 5: Bartow + Metzgar, Stratimentation: Investigations of a Metamorphic Landscape, on view through April 24, 2011.

Bartow + Metzgar’s collaborative art practice is an experimental engagement with the environment. The artists research specific sites as a way to understand the complex relationships among cultural, historical, geological, and scientific information that cumulatively define our experiences of a particular place. They utilize radical geography, interventionist strategies, and information systems in a collective practice that includes the two artists and a host of researchers, mycologists, artists, and even museum visitors. In doing so, they propose an equally radical new way to produce, and perhaps, understand information as art.


Stratimentation: Investigations of a Metamorphic Landscape, installation detail, 2010 mixed media Lent by the Artists Photography courtesy of Peter Harris Studio

Over the past year, artists Paul Bartow and Richard Metzgar have built and manned a two-person structure in the Sculpture Park, the Morphology Field Station for Sensing Place, as a hub for their ongoing research into deCordova’s site. Now, in the Museum’s Dewey Family Gallery, they unveil their findings in a large-scale installation that is at once a living archive and reinterpretation of the Museum’s physical, historical, geological, and conceptual landscape. Architecture, drawings, photographs, videos, and found objects all taken or derived from the physical properties of the Sculpture Park are elaborately arranged in the gallery that has been transformed into a three-dimensional rendering of the property. The artists used a series of visually-derived systems pulled from the site itself (from the drawings and maps of the park) to dictate their findings. In doing so, they have removed themselves from the process, allowing for surprising relationships to emerge and opening up the possibilities for a different experience between ourselves and the outdoors.

Alongside the natural sample specimens, Bartow + Metzgar have included works of art from the Museum’s Permanent Collection as an expression of the inter-connected relationship among land, time, and culture inherent in our site as art museum and park. The installation is titled Stratimentation: Investigations of a Metamorphic Landscape, a fabricated, composite term that hints at the layered and changing notions of time that can co-exist in a single place: historical, geological, and biological time are all compressed and stratified in a given site in the simplest forms of people, rocks and plants. In Bartow + Metzgar’s hands, these layers unfold in virtual and physical space.

Paul Bartow (b. 1964, Phillipsburg, NJ) received his MFA in painting from Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, and is based in Watkins Glen, NY. Richard Metzgar (b. 1962, Lewisburg, PA) received an MFA in painting from the Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY. He teaches at the State University of New York, Oswego in Oswego, NY.

The 2009-2010 PLATFORM series is funded in part by James and Audrey Foster.

PLATFORM Discussion Series
Saturday, March 19, 3 pm
Join exhibiting artists Paul Bartow and Richard Metzgar as they engage in a discussion with Concord Museum curator David Wood and professor of biology at Boston University Richard Primack. The conversation will investigate the exploration of a site, through both Bartow + Metzgar’s project here at deCordova and Henry David Thoreau’s experimental living at Walden Pond.
Free with museum admission

The DeCordova Sculpture Park encompasses 35 acres of beautiful rolling woodlands and lawns, and is the largest park of its kind in New England (see Park Map). The Sculpture Park provides a constantly changing exhibition of large-scale, outdoor, Modern and contemporary American sculpture and site-specific installations for 125,000 visitors each year. The Sculpture Park is open to the public every day of the year from dawn ’til dusk, and contains approximately 75 artworks at any given time

www.decordova.org

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