In addition to being a nationally exhibited sculptor, Ann Jon is also the director of SculptureNow. That means that in between creating fascinating nature- and architecture-inspired 3D works, she organizes an annual outdoor display of sculpture in Western Mass., including this year’s exhibitions in Lenox (through Oct. 27) and Hinsdale (through June 1, 2013).
Here, Ann answers questions about her work, surprising responses to it, misunderstood aspects of it, and more.
Explain how SculptureNow came to be.
A group of Berkshire sculptors got tired of schlepping large, heavy sculptures to Manhattan galleries (fighting traffic, avoiding getting parking tickets, hoping the sculpture would fit in the elevator, etc.). So, we decided to have our own shows in our own community. We skipped the white gallery walls, and chose instead the green walls of nature.
Organizing SculptureNow is like being a a) tactical general, b) head chef, or c) marching band conductor.
Well, maybe a head chef. Gotta keep in mind the final presentation of a high quality exhibition and at the same time pay attention to endless details all coming together to create a coherent, focused show.
What’s the most surprising response you’ve ever had to your work?
Somebody crying when viewing my sculpture. Not sure why. It wasn’t that bad.
But seriously, this viewer was deeply moved and connected with the sculpture on an emotional level. Very gratifying.
The unauthorized biography of your life is titled:
Share a surprise twist in the Ann Jon story.
When I think forward in time, next week, month, year I always wonder, how I will survive as an artist, financially. Creatively I can keep going. I have more ideas than I know what to do with. When I look back in time I am surprised how I kept going as an artist for more than 40 years, and how now through SculptureNow I can even help other artists getting seen, sold, reviewed and established. Who would have thunk?
What is the most misunderstood aspect of being a sculptor?
The price of a sculpture. In this culture of mass produced, disposable “stuff” most people have no clue about the labor and expenses of creating something original by hand, from scratch. If they do, they think you can afford it, and should be happy to pay your bills with their compliments.
What are you currently reading?
Sculpture Magazine. Always informative, though sometimes the art-speak gets tiresome. The photos say it better anyway. When I need to leave the sculpture world, I read Louise Erdrich and William Faulkner. They take me into another world of poetry, spirituality and magic storytelling beyond the expected.
If you could talk sculpture with any artist in history, who would it be?
Robert Wilson, the creator of 14 Stations. The best show I ever saw at Mass MoCA. I would love to better understand his inspirations, the thinking and the work that went into creating that piece. What a feat!
ScultureNow was supported by the MCC’s Local Cultural Council Program, receiving funding from the Hinsdale-Peru, Lenox, Monterey, Pittsfield, Stockbridge, and Tyringham Cultural Councils.
Images: Ann Jon, EVERY MOOD OF BLUE, wood, pigment, cord, steel; Daniel Stienstra, MONUMENTS (detail), steel, ceramic; Fielding Brown, LOLLYPOP TREE, wood, pigment; Jonathan Prince, TOTEM II, oxidized and stainless steel; Wendy Klemperer, YEARLING, steel; Anne Alexander, TURITELLA, wood; Kate Ely, POLYPORALES, wood, steel, glass.