|The First Art Newspaper on the Net
||Established in 1996
|| Saturday, February 17, 2018
|Asa Ames Exhibit at the American Folk Art Museum in New York|
Phrenological Head, Attributed to Asa Ames (1823 - 1851) Evans, Erie County, New York c. 1850. Paint on wood 16 3/8 x 13 x 7 1/8". Collection American Folk Art Museum, bequest of Jeanette Virgin, 1981.24.1. Photo by John Parnell, New York.
NEW YORK.- The exhibition Asa Ames: Occupation Sculpturing is the first devoted to the three-dimensional portraits carved by the elusive artist between 1847 and his death in 1851. Amess sculpture has been written about, published, and seen individually in group exhibitions, but this presentation is a unique opportunity to examine eight of his twelve known sculptures in an intimate, jewel-like installation. Although Asa Amess oeuvre was small, this exquisite group of polychromed carvings in wood, on loan from public and private collections, represents some of the most beautiful and sensitive American sculptures of the mid-19th century. Organized by Stacy C. Hollander, senior curator and director of exhibitions, the exhibition Asa Ames: Occupation Sculpturing is on view at the American Folk Art Museum from April 15 through September 14, 2008.
Asa Ames (1823-1851) immortalized family members, neighbors and friends in the vicinity of Evans, Erie County, New York. Included in the artists small body of work are portraits of young men and women, and children. Sensitively portrayed as either life size bust-, waist-, or full-length figures, they have few antecedents in early American folk sculpture because of the private nature of the portraits. Like much painted portraiture of the day, the representations are iconic in their pared-down simplicity and absolute frontality, lending to the air of timelessness that imbues the carvings.
The life-size, full-length figure of Susan Ames, carved in 1849, depicts the artists niece, his brother Henrys daughter. As in all his work, Ames accurately described details and texture of clothing and hair through precise carving and the application of paint. In this regard, it resonates with conventions of painted portraiture. However, as a fully realized volumetric sculpture, it occupies space and sheds light on the gestures that are often seen in folk portraits of children. This sculpture moved west with the family and was recently rediscovered in the Boulder History Museum where it had been placed by a descendent in the 1960s.
One of the major works in the museums collection is the mysterious Phrenological Head. It was probably carved around 1850 during the time that Ames lived in the household of Dr. Harvey B. Marvin, a physician and practitioner of alternative therapies. The carving has the specificity of a portrait and depicts a young child with delicate features wearing a red dress. The deeply carved puffed sleeves contrast with the rhythmic linearity of the pleated bodice and skirt. The childs impassive expression becomes a blank canvas for the phrenological map that is marked on her head, closely following the chart popularized by the Fowler brothers.
Amess work is usually discussed within the genre of ship and trade figure carving. His own sense of himself as an artist may be gleaned in the Federal Census of 1850, where his occupation is listed as "sculpturing." This has prompted a consideration of his art within a broader framework of sculptural traditions, from Renaissance marble busts, primarily of male children, to classical-inspired marble statuary in the Italianate tradition by Horatio Greenough and Hiram Powers, to those associated with the rural cemetery movement that was burgeoning in the 1840s. According to Ms. Hollander, the Seated Female Figure with Lamb and Cup evokes a popular image in cemetery carving, a sleeping child with lamb. This figure has an ecclesiastical appearance
usually identified as female, the child may instead represent John the Baptist with attributes of banner or scroll, the Lamb of God, and a shell for baptizing. Erie County was known for religious revivalism in the 19th century and the Ayer family, for whom the memorial was carved, had converted to Methodism. Their religious beliefs may have contributed to the representation of this carving.
The forthright Head of a Boy probably portrays one of the artists brothers. In the life-like humanity of its gaze, the viewer gleans a sense of what the artist himself may have looked like. The direct simplicity of the presentation, without drapery, pedestal, or flourishes, creates a dynamic and naturalistic engagement with the viewer in the tradition of Renaissance marble sculpture, rather than highly embellished portraits in wood in the shipcarving tradtion.
Although details of Amess history remain shrouded in shadow, the work of his hands illuminates the meaningful and personal nature of the lives he captured so beautifully in wood, comments Ms. Hollander.
In conjunction with the exhibition, a number of public programs have been arranged. A Symposium: Talks in 3-D (5/3), Saturday Seminar: A Curatorial Lecture and Tour (5/17); and a lunchtime talk Phrenology and Its Images (5/21). Please contact the education department for details.
May 13, 2008
One of America's Greatest Artists, Pop Art Pioneer, Robert Rauschenberg Died in Florida at 82
Picasso Museum in Malaga Presents Restored Books Made by the Artist
Battlefields of the Civil War: Photography by William Earle Williams at Houston's MFA
Cleveland Museum Says Discussions are Continuing Between the Museum and the Italians
Asa Ames Exhibit at the American Folk Art Museum in New York
Architectural Projects by Stephen Taylor and Ryue Nishizawa at The Canadian Centre for Architecture
Brit Art of the Sixties Set to Open at Mark Barrow Fine Art
Manfred Leve: Glances and Sights, Photography from Five Decades at Gallery Ficher Rohr
Halcyon Gallery to Hold First Gallery Exhibition of Bob Dylan Art
Chinese Imperial Jades in the Collections of The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art Transforms Gallery into Hallucinatory Space
Spencer Tunick and Vienna's Kunsthalle Gather 1,840 People to Pose Nude at Stadium
Blake Fitch: Expectations of Adolescence at Light Work in Syracuse
The Shell Guides: Surrealism, Modernism, Tourism at the Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture
Future Tense: Reshaping the Landscape Presents Work by Artists Who are Taking a Critical Look at the Environment
Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Belgium Celebrate Architect Joze Plecnik
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- The Morgan explores the Medieval world's fascinating approach to the passage of time
2.- Experts discover hidden ancient Maya structures in Guatemala
3.- Egyptian archaeologists unveil tomb of Old Kingdom priestess Hetpet
4.- The Speed Art Museum and Italian Ministry reach loan agreement on ancient calyx-krater
5.- Major exhibition features artistic masterpieces from the glorious Church of the Gesù
6.- From Beowulf to Chaucer, the British Library makes 1,000 years of rich literary history freely available online
7.- Truck damages Peru's ancient Nazca lines
8.- Trish Duebber is new Coordinator of Youth Programs at Boca Raton Museum Art School
9.- Exhibition examines the way art, like language, was used to articulate a rhetoric of exclusion
10.- The Dallas Museum of Art announces gift of three major European works
Important Judaica and Israeli & international art bring a combined $7.9 million at Sotheby's New York
Tunisia to auction ousted despot's treasures
Andy Warhol's Mao portraits excluded from the Beijing and Shanghai shows next year
China criticises French Qing dynasty seal auction
Christie's announces auction marking the first half century of the popular and luxurious interiors shop Guinevere
Nine new exhibits debut at San Diego International Airport
Rembrandt masterpiece "Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet" back on display at National Museum Cardiff
Amber: 40-million-year-old fossilised tree resin is Baltic gold
Egyptian artist Iman Issa wins the Ist FHN Museu dArt Contemporani de Barcelona Award
The main chapel of the Basilica of Santa Croce open for visits after five year restoration
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.