Art park gaining a sculpture from a noted Vermont artist
SHOREHAM — On the south side of Shoreham’s Lemon Fair Sculpture Park, between two life-size statues of horses and a giant silver circle, sculptor Peter Lundberg is working on his latest project, a concrete piece that will tower 30 feet into the air.
The artist, known internationally for sculpting giant, concrete arcs, is setting a mold for a sculpture that will be unearthed and erected at the same site — the park is on the south side of Route 74, just past the Cornwall town line — where he is now creating it.
Lundberg said this style of sculpting originated from practicality. He began working with concrete above the ground, but came to realize that molds could be made more easily inside the earth.
“It started off as a very practical way of molding concrete, as a way of holding the form together,” he said. “It was interesting that the process led me to this way of making the piece.”
Lundberg uses a machine to dig a foundation into the ground, which is reinforced with a wire cage suspended from the top of the trench. This week, Lundberg will pour the concrete into the mold, which will take the shape of the ground and solidify, a process that lasts about a month.
The finished piece, standing about 30 feet tall, will contain areas where visitors can sit and stand. Lundberg intends the work to connect them to the land and carry the same organic concept that the artist fosters in all of his work.
Lundberg said the style of sculpting allows him to learn about the area where he’s working. On the Ittlemans’ property, he found a mass of clay, and in other locations, he has discovered articles as exciting as rubble left over from wars.
“You learn about the environment,” he said. “It’s kind of like being an archaeologist.”
To lift the final product out of the ground, Lundberg must dig around the sculpture and hoist the piece upwards with a crane.
“It ends up looking like an ancient relic,” he said.
The Ittlemans will host a “christening” ceremony for the sculpture on Sept. 28, during which refreshments will be served and Lundberg will be available to discuss the piece and his creative process. More information about the ceremony, which will be open to anyone, will soon become available on the park’s website, lemonfairsculpturepark.com.
Lundberg’s piece is the newest addition to Frank and Elaine Ittlemans’ collection of about 30 sculptures, which has been growing over a period of several decades and officially opened to the pubic earlier this summer. Lundberg is pleased to have his sculpture added to their park, and says he’s impressed with what the couple has done.
Frank Ittleman eagerly anticipates the day he can share the sculpture with the public.
“We’re very excited about this piece,” he said. “It’s very different from the others in our collection. I’ve never seen anything like this, and the fact that it’s being made on-site is just great.”
The Ittlemans first met Lundberg through another sculptor, John Clement, whose pieces “The Tiller” and “Awhoo” are featured on their hillside. Lundberg came to the Shoreham property to assist Clement with the installation process of “The Tiller,” and his acquaintance with the Ittlemans was made.
Frank’s appreciation of Lundberg’s work has grown over time.
“The more I looked at it, the more intrigued I became,” he said. “It’s got gravity and power and works well in a large space like we have.”
Lundberg is a Vermont native, but his sculptures are spread throughout the United States in places like North Carolina, New York City and Indiana, and as close as Rutland and now Shoreham. He has also created works that can be found in many nations, including China, Australia and Germany.
All of his pieces are molded and unearthed in the exact location where they are displayed. He has been featured in almost 70 exhibitions around the globe, including Storm King Art Center in New York.
The Ittlemans have also recently installed three new pieces by Phil Thorne, also a Vermont native.
As the summer winds down, the couple is excited to have Middlebury College students return to Vermont with hopes that they might venture out to explore the park. So far, the Ittlemans are pleased with the number of interested visitors who have come to see the sculptures.
“On any given weekend, we’ve had around five to eight people walking through, and they’ve been very enthusiastic,” Frank said. “We encourage people to come out when they feel like it.”
The park’s first event, which was held at the end of June, attracted about 75 attendees to the mile-long path on a guided tour with the Ittlemans. Despite the scorching weather, Frank said, the group stuck with the tour and remained interactive, asking the couple lots of questions.
“We really love meeting people and talking about the art,” he said.
If the weather stays pleasant, the park will remain open every weekend from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. until the end of October. More about the park and the ceremony is available at lemonfairsculpturepark.com.
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