Bradford Graves

Bradford Graves Sculpture Park • Kerhonkson, NY • "IN THE MIDDLE OF SOMEWHERE!”

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Bradford Graves Sculpture Park in Kerhonkson, showcases over 200 works of a man who worked primarily in stone and possessed a deep

and unyielding fascination with archeology and all things of the earth. His sculpture is complex and rich with meaning, simultaneously

ancient and modern, raw and sophisticated, solid and luminous.

To experience the power and solemnity of this collection of stone images is like walking into a quarry. They respond to the force of gravity

and form a relationship with the surface on which they lay. This was at the root of Graves’ extraordinary conceptual approach to his

sculpture. Graves (1939 – 1998) considered that stone came from the earth and with human intervention because sculpture, to lie on the

ground only to return to the earth after time. He created flat horizontal slabs that sprawled on the floor and upright totemic blocks recalling

the ancient sites that inspired these pieces.

His important mystical series “This Mirror Can Crack a Stone, inspired by Thoreau, hints at meaning that begs for deciphering and yet

remains as enigmatic as the sources that provided the initial inspiration. This series, in particular, reveals the relationship of Graves’

sculpture to the earth. It is evident in thoughtful and mysterious works such as we find in the “Mirror” series that Graves was an alchemist, a

physicist, and a philosopher.

Unearthing the range of his works is like excavating the archeological sites that he found so compelling. In particular, his early works

possess a primal quality that is reminiscent of the early figures of prehistoric man. The Mirror Pavilion at the Sculpture Park features this

series.

Graves persisted in his quest to connect the ancient with the modern, and in doing so anchors his sculpture beside “popular” works of

importance to this day. An explorer with an insatiable appetite for archeological discovery and a seeker of new cultural experiences, he

traveled abroad to places he referred to as “stone cultures” where he immersed himself in the technical and archeological training that

would inform his art throughout his life. In this country, innumerable trips to the Southwest also provided constant inspiration.

Although most comfortable with a chisel or pencil in hand, Graves was also a writer who articulated his thoughts in essays  on sculpture,

stone, the creative process, and the human condition. Of his work he wrote, “The making of sculpture may be taken as my desire for

wholeness, the recognition of my identity as being a part of the earth and its materials. In the confrontation between my inner image of what

I want to make and the actuality of the physical materials, a dialogue begins, and the result of that dialogue is a sculptural statement.”

The Bradford Graves Sculpture Park is located off Route 209 in Kerhonkson.  ‘IN THE MIDDLE OF SOMEWHERE!”

Open May through the end of October, by appointment. Admission is free.

For information call (845)  230 - 0521

The inspiration that gave rise to Bradford Graves’ work continues to emanate from his large body of sculptures, drawings and digital

prints.

All sculpture is for sale.  Prices upon request.

The sculpture park welcomes photographers for photo shoots of fashion, weddings, etc.

To learn more visit  www.bradfordgravessculpturepark.com

 

on-going exhibition of sculpture                                                                                                                                              by appointment

 

WHEN I see birches bend to left and right

Across the line of straighter darker trees,

I like to think some boy's been swinging them.

But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay.

Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen them

Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning

After a rain. They click upon themselves

As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored

As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.

Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells

Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust—

Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away

You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.

They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,

And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed

So low for long, they never right themselves:

You may see their trunks arching in the woods

Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground

Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair

That would be good both going and coming back.

Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.

...Earth's the right place for love:

I don't know where it's likely to go better.

I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree,

And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk

Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,

But dipped its top and set me down again.

One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

Poem: "Birches" by Robert Frost (see Bartleby

Bradford Graves Sculpture Park

Thanks to Verna Gillis (for hosting our visit to the sculpture

park) and David Minter (for introducing me to the poem).

Steve Mount 2010