NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

August 30, 2012

Flying Horse returns to Pingree

School's sculpture exhibit features local artists

By Will Broaddus
Staff Writer

---- — Students aren’t the only ones returning to campus at Pingree School in Hamilton.

Mythical figures like Nike and Icarus will be seen on the school grounds, accompanied by animals that include an otter, a heron and a wolf. They will be joined by an unusual but pleasant-looking man named Jonah, who has an enormous, lopsided head made of granite.

All of these figures will be found around the property as part of the school’s third Flying Horse Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit. They will be among 36 works by 25 artists on display from Sept. 1 through Nov. 18, in an exhibit that is open to the public. The show is named for the farm that was donated by the Pingree family to the school.

“About 10 artists are new,” said Judy Klein, Pingree’s director of communications, who added that the returning artists will exhibit new works. “No one will be repeating. Every piece must be new, that’s a condition.”

Among the artists taking place this year are John Ashworth of West Newbury, David Davies of Newburyport, Joe Fix of Newbury, Gordon Frost of Salisbury, Michael Updike of Newbury and Gene Sheehan of Salisbury. Jay Havighurst is also participating this year. He is the longtime curator of the Somerby’s Landing Sculpture Park on the Newburyport waterfront.

Frost, who is taking part in the show for the first time, is entering three pieces — a bicycle, a wolf and the winged horse Pegasus from Greek mythology.

Pegasus is part of Pingree’s logo, Frost said, and when he heard school officials thought the horse would be a nice addition to the exhibit, he decided to make a sculpture.

While he’s created horse sculptures in the past, he said, the rearing Pegasus is a whole new challenge.

“It’s a lot more detailed,” he said.

The life-sized horse has taken more than a month to complete.

Havighurst’s sculpture can be heard, as well as seen. To invite people to explore music in a new way, he has contributed three sculptures to the show that are also musical instruments.

You won’t find “Rhythm Tower,” “Blue Arc” or “Slit Gong” in any orchestras, although Havighurst, from Essex, has played them in studio sessions with other musicians.

“The idea is to extend the idea of musical instruments and to invite people to play together who aren’t necessarily musicians,” said Havighurst, who is new to the Flying Horse exhibit this year. “Instruments are intimidating in some ways, because of the way we have to play them perfectly. Sound sculpture is a way to involve people and get their natural abilities to come forth.”

“Rhythm Tower” is made of plywood and stands about 8 feet tall, and visitors may use rubber mallets to strike it like a drum.

Havighurst doesn’t want people to just hear the rhythms they create, but also to feel them, which is how shamans induce trances and ritual drumming binds cultures together.

“The relationship of the sound to the body is really important,” he said. “It’s not just through your ears and your mind, it’s a guttural kind of feeling, which is missing in a lot of things in this world.”

All of these sculptors will be introduced, and their works pictured, in free catalogs. The school got a small grant this year to help with the printing expense, and some funds come from the sale of sculptures.

But this year, those attending the Flying Horse exhibit can also dial up information about the art and artists. A sign with a phone number at each sculpture will allow visitors to listen to a recording of the catalog entries.

Joanne Patton of Hamilton, “widow of one Gen. George Patton and daughter-in-law of the most famous Gen. George Patton,” as the catalog states, is the show’s honorary chairwoman.

“She is such a regional treasure,” Klein said. “She introduced us to several artists and is a supporter of public access to community resources. This being a free event for the community appeals to her.”

Staff writer Katie Lovett contributed to this report.

If you go

What:

2012 Flying Horse Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit

Where:

Pingree School, 537 Highland St., Hamilton

When:

Sept. 1 through Nov. 18

Admission:

Free

More information: www.pingree.org