Tuesday, August 2, 2022. Mother Nature presented us yesterday with a perfect city day in August — with the temps in the high 60s (!!!). And cloudy. So it was cool and comfortable. It warmed up to the mid-70s by nightfall. Beautiful weather; Nature’s reward for our patience is one way of looking at it.
Today we’re giving you more of that pleasure. Our friend Beth Rudin DeWoody — who is very well known in the Art World as a major collector of modern contemporary art — has curated a show at the Berkshire Botanical Garden’s ART/GARDEN 2022, entitled “Symbiosis.” You know the word? I had to look it up.
“Interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both.” That’s a good word for Beth because in her life she brings it about and around her.
Mrs. DeWoody and I are old friends, the kind you make when you’re a young adult in New York. She was first out of college — UC Santa Barbara. We met through our mutual friend Bob Schulenberg here in New York. When you’re young and first out there meeting people, whatever your personal interests and attitudes, you can meet extraordinary and creative individuals in New York. Beth’s a native. She has always had an eye and a sense of being — as a collector; and as an audience.
She’s by nature a collector of images and books. Although she never considered herself an artist, I have a watercolor or a small garden of flowers that she did when she was thirteen, and it is really good. You can see the maiden talent in the artist in that painting. I am in no way an art critic, but her eye and her hand made a bright and beautiful garden of nature’s colors.
In the early 1970s she married the artist, Jim DeWoody, and being a very young woman, she was meeting that world of the arts and it was a natural for her. The collector’s development is demonstrated in what she collects. She is in The Now.
She now has her own museum, The Bunker Art Space in West Palm Beach, which is where she houses much of her vast collection and presents exhibitions by appointment. Her presence in Palm Beach with The Bunker has expressed to the re-awakening of Palm Beach as a metropolitan area in South Florida.
This exhibition in the Leonhardt Galleries includes outdoor sculptures, and indoor artwork in the Leonhardt Galleries. Beth is “thrilled” to continue her ongoing collaboration with the Berkshire Botanical Garden — this time with ’Symbiosis’. She also curated last year’s “Taking Flight” sculpture exhibit at Berkshire Botanical Garden.
Beth explained, “Throughout my collecting, I see patterns in the works that artists are creating. This exhibition focuses on the natural world and the relationships among living things and is reflective of what I have been seeing within the greater art world.”
Chairman of The Rudin Family Foundations and Executive Vice President of Rudin Management, Beth is also the Vice Chairman of the Whitney Museum of American Art and Life Trustee at The New School in New York City. Her board affiliations also include Empowers Africa, Save A Child India, Inc, The Glass House in New Canaan, Conn., and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles
The first of three indoor “Symbiosis” exhibits this season in BBG’s Leonhardt Galleries ran through July 24, and featured works by Jose Alvarez (D.O.P.A.), Ann Craven, Michele Benjamin, William Binnie, DABSMYLA, Robert Davis, E.V. Day, Jordan Doner, Walton Ford, Daniel Gordon, Karen Gunderson, Judi Harvest, Steven & William Ladd, Lee Relvas, Kathy Ruttenberg, Sean Mellyn, Dana Sherwood, Alan Sonfist, Ana María Velasco, Paul Villinski, LeRone Wilson, Rob Wynne, and Firooz Zahedi.
E.V. Day, by her sculpture titled, “Pollinator” (2011). Day explained that her work replicates the reproductive organs of flowers from Claude Monet’s garden and lily pond in Giverny, France. In the Summer of 2010, as the Munn Artist-in-Residence of the Versailles Foundation, Day had access to these living treasures, grown from the same seed strains that Monet propagated when he was living there. Day followed the gardeners at Giverny in their rounds at daybreak, as they clipped the fleurs fanées (fading flowers) and also the blooms that were at their most colorful, vigorous peak but wouldn’t survive the heat of the morning sun. She sifted through the gardeners’ wheelbarrows for these latter blooms and preserved those specimens by means of a microwave flower-press. She scanned the best of each flower variety into a two-dimensional image, creating a memorial of sorts to the flowers’ life-giving role. From these scans, Day then used digital-processing and three-dimensional modeling to reconstitute each flower, reconstructing them into sculptural forms with weight and mass. The ephemeral, fleeting quality of the flowers Monet planted has been transformed into a monumental and rigid tribute. Fixed, everlasting, and transportable, these massive flowers transcend geographical specificity; they’ve flown beyond the garden walls at Giverny, but remain symbols of the powerful environment of fecundity and fertility Monet created more than a hundred years ago. With their polished, metallic surfaces, these sculptures become, both literally and figuratively, places for reflection about reproduction and replication, about endurance and timelessness, and about using technology to give an evanescent life form a futuristic, alternate existence.