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Edward Hopper House Museum and Study Center opens 'Alastair Noble: A Message in a Bo(a)ttle'
This cross-disciplinary exhibition features Environmental/Installation Artist Alastair Noble, complemented by Hudson River School Painter Sanford Robinson Gifford, early drawings on loan by hometown hero Edward Hopper, boat building with Jonathan Richer, and sculptures thematically related to the exhibition curated by Eric David Laxman.

NYACK, NY.- Edward Hopper House is presenting an immersive multi-media exhibition focusing on interpretations of life along the Hudson. The cross-disciplinary exhibition features environmental / installation artist Alastair Noble, complemented by Hudson River School painter Sanford Robinson Gifford, early drawings on loan by hometown hero Edward Hopper, boat building with Jonathon Richer, and sculptures thematically related to the exhibition.

Inspired by Edward Hopper’s boyhood fascination with yachts and other sailing boats, Alastair Noble constructed an installation of paper boats and poetic messages which is being exhibited as a flotilla suspended from the gallery’s ceiling and flowing across the gallery floor.

Alastair Noble is a much-exhibited English artist with many fascinating interests which, like young Hopper, also include boating, reading poetry and travelling. Noble is also an imaginative artist who creates intriguing and inventive installations in museums and art galleries in Europe and beyond. By combining these passions in the installation and additional loaned artworks, curator Richard Kendall notes that the exhibition refers to a wide range of material.

Bridging the connection between Hopper’s early work and Noble’s installation, the wooden ships Hopper whittled as well as a now famous bottle that Hopper found in the river as child – which contained a written address – from which young beachcomber Hopper and bottle-tosser W.H. Sanford made correspondence in 1898 are on display in the Ruth and Arthayer Sanborn Gallery at Edward Hopper House Museum & Study Center.

Expanding the exhibition, Edward Hopper House has two loans of poignant drawings from Hopper’s youthful experiences at the Hudson’s shoreline. Using his knowledge of Hopper’s beginnings, Noble visited Nyack’s boat-building yards still in the town. The installation is surrounded by a soundtrack of recordings Noble has made from the Hudson River at Nyack, helping to immerse the viewer.

Additionally, the heritage of the Hudson River School is represented with a gem of a landscape painting by luminist Sanford Robinson Gifford, on loan until December. Gifford’s atmospheric paintings of the Hudson Valley are on view not only at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but also among other incredible collections throughout North America.

Noble himself describes his presentation as a poetic and even humorous experience for summertime visitors. This installation engages Hopper admirers old and young, at a time when yachts can be seen on the river Hudson just as they did in Hopper’s time. Fabricated in a variety of sizes, and dramatically spot lit to cast shadows on the floor and gallery walls, Noble’s boats have been constructed in the tradition origami boats that young boys often make from a square of paper. Like messages in a bottle, each of Noble’s boats contains a stamped or stenciled phrase excerpted from different texts from poets and writers that Hopper admired such as Emerson and Goethe. These also intrigued Noble, who has read several of the books Hopper cherished and also familiarized himself with the works of other authors the artist admired.

The Garden’s summer sculpture curation coordinates with the gallery exhibition, featuring sculptures by Andranik Aroutounian, Eliza Evans, David Herbert, Simone Kestelman, Chris Paistedt, Megumu Tagami, and Kathy Bruce. Bruce’s site-specific sustainable sculptures features textual “messages” like waves scrolling along bamboo strips and undulating around a bamboo boat structure; the messages surround the boat, rather than being bottled up - thus reversing the exhibition theme by creating a conceptual rather than a literal depiction of the “Message in a Bottle.” Boat imagery by Chris Paistedt and David Herbert, and figural sentinels by Eliza Evans harbor in Hopper’s backyard.

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