Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Meet the Myth Makers! Sept 24th Muskegon Michigan Museum of Art 5:30 - 7:30

September News

The summer brought some very big changes. New job. After 20 years of massive hours, I set out to trim my teaching schedule to fit in a few more hours in my studio each week. I left my consuming high school job for a K- 8th position at a great school - three vigorous days/week. So far it has been an exceptional adventure. Everyday I am happier and more aware of how to address the range of ages and abilities. What a thrilling challenge.

After nearly 30 years in Boston for Donna Dodson, it was a real change for her too when we settled on this fine home and SPACIOUS studio that we can share. Although a suburban home, it is in a community with great creative energy (ArtSpace Maynard plus several lively contemporary galleries) and easy access to Boston proper. For the first time in my adult life, we walked to dinner from home! I regularly ride my bike to the hardware store (open till 7) for odds and ends.

Donna and I have been married almost one year! We have combined our hearts and minds, our lives and families, and our homes and studios...

NEW ADDRESS for Mr. and Mrs. Myth Maker: 123 Summer Street Maynard MA 01754

Join us for our first Maynard Open Studio: Sunday September 27 1-4pm and ....

Save the Date for Our First anniversary Open House: Saturday, November 7th 1-4pm
Upcoming gigs for the Myth Makers:
Sept. 24th, Meet the Myth Makers at the Muskegon Museum of Art in Michigan, 5:30p-7:30p, 
Look for the Myth Makers in the following locations in 2016... Sculpture for New Orleans, Art in the Wild, Harrisburg Penn., Rock Creek Park, Washington DC, Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau Wisconsin, and the Academy Art Museum in Easton, Maryland.

Upcoming gigs for Donna Dodson:
Solo Museum Show at the New Bedford Art Museum Jan-Feb 2016
Solo show at The Boston Sculptors Gallery- September 2016

Upcoming gigs for Andy Moerlein:
Solo show at The Boston Sculptors Gallery- September 2016

Follow my creative process on facebook. I am an intermittent user, but the content is more works in progress.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

A Workshop: Forts, Sanctuaries, and Secret Shelters

Secrets are meant 
to be kept
 in your mind.

Blowing around aimlessly
in your thoughts
and feelings.

Once you tell a secret 
your fates become entwined

A secret holds the power of who you are only to yourself.

I have secrets 
that make me who I am.

The secrets I keep 
are deep.

Secrets - 
we all have them.

The best types of secrets are the ones that don't have to be secrets at all.

He says he has no secrets, 
and I say I have tons.

I believe there are secrets hidden amongst our stars. 

They're dying to tell us.
You just have to listen...
but to listen you must with an open heart.

A forgotten tale, a murmured doubt, said all alone.

A secret: the weapon, to make all enemies cower –
secrets, the only true power.

I was thrilled to recognized as the 2015

At the exceptional Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill I taught a week long workshop on installation art and collaboration. Students embarked on a guided sculptural exploration of previously unshared truths using natural and human made media. I introduced the various tools and materials I use and have experience with. The class was composed of a varied and dynamic team of learners, explorers.

We began with simple hand tools and hot glue. We discussed the concept of secrets and how we might configure a fort or shelter for our unspoken truths.

We did some writing:
Define a secret.
Describe a sanctuary, fort, secret hiding place
Thinking of a personal secret, list words that come to mind. 
What objects that are part of that secret?
What verbs relate to your secret?

Each of us worked on our own model to become familiar with the methods and what the materials could do. Some of the workshop participants were professional artists. All were well trained creative thinkers.

It was exciting to see how idea and imagery was discovered by each person as they made progress with the bamboo and then found other natural materials to add to their compositions. 

Spray paint and shrink wrap were some of the media I supplied and encouraged. These made a stark contrast to the organic bamboo and at first some had real struggles combining these disparate media, but the results gradually became more natural, and again each person had a very different application for the same core materials.

Models led to work outdoors on a monumental scale. Team work seemed immediately necessary in that setting. We began to have larger discussions of what we found best in our models and where on the grounds a group sculpture might be fun. Collaborating proved a natural path that each participant invested in with real grace and gentleness. It was a great class. Each individual had strong ideas, but they also worked hard for understanding and consensus. In the end there was evident success. Each day there was rejoicing when the group had success, and mutual groans when something was not working. 

With a reception at the center Thursday night we made a goal of a finished piece by the end of the day. 

SUCCESS!! In a final  burst of energy as the day waned, the team made several mutual and spontaneous decisions that really drew the work together and reflected many of the ideas explored up till that moment.

What an adventure! We were all very proud at the reception.

Friday was our final work day. We were very satisfied with our finished work from Thursday and decided to devote our energies to a new concept. Once again the decisions were fast and furious but consensus ruled. Bare bamboo led to the decision to  add color. Our ideas were very different from our first team sculpture. Some of the ideas churned up in the models came out in this last effort. Again, our results were a unanimous success.

All this work will be on display for the rest of the summer at Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill. Sign up for summer classes now and be sure to watch for next year's catalog!

On the Cape! Truro Center for the Arts @ Castle Hill

An installation outdoors and sculpture in the gallery
Also exhibiting: Tremain Smith and Megan Hinton.

Truro Center For The Arts At Castle Hill

10 Meetinghouse Rd, Truro, MA 02666
June 29 – July 10th

If you are on the  cape for the Fourth of July, swing by and see the indoor show! 

Small Talk
2012 wood, ceramic
We all know the party. Strolling and trolling for a conversation that is more than bird chatter. Deeper conversation is hard to find.

The outdoor work will be on site through 2016 and can be enjoyed anytime you have a moment to meander off Rte 6. This large overhead installation has drawn real attention and thousands of pictures. Please post selfies to FB!


Early Summer!

Colo Colo Gallery May 25-June 14

What an adventure! I had a great opportunity to show at Colo Colo Gallery in New Bedford MA just as the school year paused. This harbor city was once a whaling port and is now reinventing itself as a lively ferry terminal, domestic fishing dock, and a creative destination with real charm and a growing economic engine.The arts are a new driver in this changing city and Colo Colo curator and gallery president Luis Villanueva has a real vision for contemporary art. His spacious gallery was an open invitation to create a new installation. 

I was fascinated by the raw damage evident in the forests after our deep winter snows. The open wounds were everywhere. The exposed heart wood from torn branches fascinated and repelled me. 

The work I made for the gallery: Weighted, was my document of the violent winter's travesty. The gentle accumulation of snow, in such volume, results in brute force. 

Weighted, a site specific installation,  hand made stones, wire ties, saplings 2015

The large installation was a delight for the audience to walk through and under. It was a bit whimsical as well as threatening.I also showed a series of smaller works that Luis Villanueva presented about the gallery with mastery.  


The show was shared with Susan Gilmore who presented some vivid and well presented digital prints and who brought in a huge fan base for the reception! 

Watch for Donna Dodson's show July 12 - August 7th
The Chinese Zodiac

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Spring Shows!

It has been such an exciting spring that I have not bee good about keeping up with my email newsletters. Follow me on facebook for up-to-date events. If you have family or friends who live in the areas below, I would LOVE to have crowds show up!
Three important receptions: 
Thursday May 21st 5:30 - 6:30
The final Derryfield Alumni Show Fifty Years of Creative Excellence and a celebration of my almost 20 year teaching at the school.
Saturday, May 30 from 5-8 pm
Snow Load, An Installation
and other work in my debut show at Colo Colo Gallery in New Bedford MA
May 25-June 14, 2015

 A Boat for an Impossible Journey
52" tall wood, fiberglass, diluted tears

Saturday, June 6th 11am
A public tour of Boston Sculptors at Chesterwood in Stockbridge MA by the Myth Makers Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein. This is a great show with huge variety of sensibilities, materials and approaches to monumental outdoor art by an iconic sculpture collective on an important National Historic landscape.

Forest Spirit by the Myth Makers
20' high saplings, wire ties, pampas grass fronds

Madam President by Donna Dodson

Ancient Migration by Andy Moerlein

If you missed the Avian Avatars when they were on Broadway in New York City, you can now see them in Muskegon Michigan. Click here to follow the installation.

The Tourist
one of five Avian Avatars in Muskegon MI

While in Michigan we revisited our work at the Krasl Art Center that will be on view through September 2015:

by Andy Moerlein 

 Seagull Cinderella 
by Donna Dodson

And finally, the Friends of the Cadillac Library secured a year loan of Farfetched, a series handmade boulders in trees about the park and in front of the library.

What a fun and spirited group of arts activists! My exhibition follows on a large exhibit of John Seward Johnson's bronze figures in the community last year.
Driving force Vickie Essenmacher hefts a stone:

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Winter of Adventures as a Myth Maker

For the winter months Donna Dodson and I visited the Avian Avatars regularly, meeting friends and arts enthusiasts for tours and talks along Broadway. It was a delight to see so many fans and discuss the various interpretations of these monumental sculptures. 

As our exhibition slipped into the final weeks there was great enthusiasm for moving them. Two museums and three cities actively recruiting funds. In the end Muskegon Museum of Art in Michigan, and partners throughout the city, rolled out the red carpet for The Avian Avatars, our five haulers, and the Myth Makers. What a grand entry into the city and a fine installation we had. 

Generous volunteers, a proficient team, and visionary Judith Hayner, Muskegon Muesum of Art Director made fast work of the installation.

See this for more fun images:
At the entry of the Muskegon Museum of Art:

The Scold
A raucous chatterbox who dresses in ever chic, uncompromising Artist Black, the crow is a gregarious gadfly and a peripatetic poet who has an opinion on everything.

“I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
-Henry David Thoreau

The Realist
The most common of raptors, the Red Tail Hawk is a determined competitor. Everyone has a killer instinct, a desire to fly and an ambition to achieve their fifteen minutes of fame.

“When it comes to luck, you make your own.” -Bruce Springstein

The Great Spirit
The Owl sees it all and embraces both the strengths and weaknesses of humanity. The Great Spirit is an advocate who seeks out the best in each of us. A humble leader and a mystic, the Owl inspires from a spiritual perspective.

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can [each] do small things with great love.”
-Mother Teresa

At the Muskegon Chamber of Commerce round about:

The Tourist
A close relative of the common and often debased city pigeon, the Victoria Crowned Pigeon has recently arrived from far away. Like many who are visiting Muskegon for the first time this lively bird wants to experience it all. Drawn to the vivid, gaudy and seedy, the Tourist has big eyes for the larger world and does not miss a detail of what this city has to offer. The Tourist is forgiven for not knowing the social mores. An immigrant like the common pigeon earns no such generosity. Unfazed by highbrow convention, the Tourist is prepared to shape culture with its spontaneous taste making and impulsive choices.

“Who we are cannot be separated from where we're from.”
-Malcolm Gladwell

The Taste Maker

An uncompromising harbinger of taste, the Critic is not a populist. The Falcon is an idealist, a philosopher and an opinionated vocalist with a social vision.  The revered place of the falcon in many cultural traditions lends virtue to this sacred avian gathering.

“The truth is not for all ... but only for those who seek it.” -Ayn Rand

Next for the Myth Makers:  
Chesterwood Stockbridge MA
2015 highlights include the exhibition “Boston Sculptors Gallery at Chesterwood 2015”,

Chesterwood, the former summer home, studio and gardens of Daniel Chester French, America’s foremost sculptor of public monuments, announces its 2015 schedule of exhibitions, programs, and events. Chesterwood will open the first three weekends in May for one-hour guided tours only of the studio and residence at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., before opening daily for the season from Saturday, May 23 to Monday, Oct. 12 (Memorial Day Weekend through Columbus Day), from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Special Exhibition, May 23 to Oct. 12
“Boston Sculptors Gallery at Chesterwood 2015” features 24 contemporary sculptures by 25 sculptors, which were created specifically for and in response to sources of inspiration discovered at Chesterwood. The exhibition reflects the wide range of sculptural media and styles that represent the members of Boston Sculptors Gallery, which was founded in 1992 to present and promote innovative, challenging sculpture and installations. I will be exhibiting  a contemporary presidential monument: Madam President is a conceptual interpretation, of the first woman president of the USA and homage to Daniel Chester French's Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.

Join us on June 6th, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Free with admission. 
“A Walk in the Woods”. Explore outdoor sculptures in “Boston Sculptors Gallery at Chesterwood 2015” with The Myth Makers: Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein, whose individual, solo and collaborative works are in the exhibition. The Myth Makers are exhibiting a new work on site for this exhibition: Forest Grace, based on the iconic stance of the ruffed grouse.

Monday, March 2, 2015

NY City Armory Week Art Fair

Love Birds and Avian Avatars 
In NY City for the Armory Art Fair and beyond.

On January 9, 2015, the Garment District Alliance unveiled Avian Avatars, a group of five enormous sculptures, each symbolizing a unique, mythical bird. Designed by the Myth Makers, Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein, the exhibit will occupy the neighborhood’s pedestrian space on Broadway from 36th to 41st Streets in the Garment District through April 24, 2015. Their next free and open to the public walking tour is on Saturday March 7th @ 10am during Armory Week. Meet up at The Coffee Bean + Tea Leaf- 1412 Broadway. 
“Avian Avatars is a spectacular installation that not only intrigues passersby with its impeccable structure, it also tells fascinating stories that embody the imaginative and creative culture of the Garment District,” said Barbara Blair Randall, president of the Garment District Alliance. “We are delighted to showcase the Myth Makers, and we are confident these imposing sculptures will be the most popular public art installation in New York City this winter.”

Crafted from maple saplings, wire ties and found objects, the sculptures stand from 18 to 26 feet tall, with each bird sharing a unique myth. Avian Avatars is meant to indicate transformation, encouraging the public to heed to the stories about current human impact on the changing natural world.
To celebrate this momentous flocking of Avian Avatars in New York City, Harlow is proud to share “Love Birds” Paired Sculptors: The Myth Makers | Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein.

The Myth Makers are each showing their uniquely individual works in the main dining room at Harlow through the end of March. 
This show of fine woodcarving will present stories of grand relationships and tender moments. If you have not seen the Avian Avatars on public view along Broadway – please do! And once you have, come to Harlow and enjoy the intimate work Dodson and Moerlein individually create in their studios.

Unison, 20" tall, wood, ceramic "birds" paint. by Andy Moerlein
The collective spirit brings us together. A similar point of view can be useful to reaching a shared ambition for the world.
White Stork, 39" tall, wood, paint by Donna Dodson
White Stork brings the baby in her tummy instead of her beak. She is both a celebration of fertility and motherhood as well as a subversion of the popular myth of the baby bringer.

109 E 56th St.New York, NY 10022




For up to date press coverage: Luciana Iten covered the story on her blog, Jan 6, 2015. WWDDNA Info and Fox News covered this story on January 9, 2015. Artlog covered this story on January 16, 2015. As Muge blog covered this story on January 21, 2015. This Week in New York covered this story on February 10th. The Hippo Press covered this story on February 12, 2015.
Thank you!

-The Myth Makers, Donna Dodson & Andy Moerlein