Sheldon Museum installs new outdoor sculptures

Two new sculptures bloom in the flower gardens adjacent to the Henry Sheldon Museum in Middlebury: “Big Fish” by Marty McGowan of Newark, and “Anyman aka The Head” by John Matusz of Waitsfield. Both artists are accomplished sculptors and their work brings an added dimension to the Museum’s founding mission as an art museum highlighting Vermonters. The sculptures were installed in mid-July and will remain until at least the end of the year.
John Matusz
John Matusz has been living and working in Vermont since 1971. A native of the Mohawk River Valley in upstate New York, his childhood knack for drawing combined with high school visits to the Munson Williams Proctor Institute (a fine arts center in Utica, N.Y.) shaped his early artistic interest. His focus progressed from drawing to painting to sculpture. He underwent formal welding training in 1969 in Schenectady, N.Y., which accelerated his sculptural development and is now the main focus of his attention.
Often working with found objects, in welded steel, stone and wood, “Anyman aka The Head,” departs from that norm. A bust profile is fashioned from Ferro cement with a bronze metallic finish, accentuating the subject’s profile and contemplative, ethereal demeanor. To help transport and install “Anyman,” (which together with metal stand weighs 300 pounds and is 5 feet, 3 inches high), Matusz was joined by his Waitsfield friends — Wendell Anderson of Bundy Modern Art Gallery and Blair Reichenberg.
“BIG FISH” BY Marty McGowan
Marty McGowan
Marty McGowan, a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, is a fanciful, masterful metal sculptor. Residing and working from a rural setting at the northern tip of Caledonia County, McGowan spreads his talents as an artist, welder, carpenter and teacher. He delights in the latter encouraging Vermont students over the years from kindergarten to college, with stints at Lyndon State College and the Riverside School in Lyndonville, Burke Town School and King George School in Sutton.
McGowan’s “Big Fish” is a hand-carved core of cedar covered with pieces of copper bath tubs, buckets and old stainless steel water tanks. For stability, the stand is a table leg welded to a truck rim base filled with cement. McGowan’s sculptures offer not only the beauty of oxidizing steel in the natural elements but a cost-effective way of making a grand artistic statement. McGowan is celebrated for his inventive, sophisticated welding skills coupled with his humorous, ingenious and visionary imagination.
He comes from a family of artists — his father Dorian McGowan, retired from the Art Department at Lyndon State College where he taught from the 1950s to 2007, specializes in portraits and small assemblages of found objects. McGowan’s brother Nicolas is a wood sculptor who lives in Norway, while sister Kaja Maria is an art professor at Cornell University and his sister Tara, an illustrator, travels the world teaching and performing traditional Japanese storytelling. Closer to home, his son Bekk does circus arts and enjoys wood carving. Bekk assisted his father when delivering and installing the weighty 7-foot long, 4-foot high “Big Fish” sculpture.
The Sheldon Museum sculpture garden is open year round, dawn to dusk, and is maintained by Middlebury Garden Club. The museum is located at 1 Park Street in downtown Middlebury. For more information call (802) 388-2117 or visit HenrySheldonMuseum.org.

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