Art in Winter

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Silvery gray skies, four inches of fresh corn snow covering the ground, branches and boughs crusted with white. Milder temperatures. The past week cold and below freezing, with dramatic pink and persimmon sunrises and sunsets, crisp air, clear days and nights, and a full moon. February nipping at January’s heels.

The freezing temperatures keeping me indoors, close to the wood-fire. Last weekend, an x-c ski across Sunset Lake, not a soul in sight, waves of wind whipping across the expanse of snow and ice, biting my face, hard. The day before, a different antidote to feeling cooped up. A short drive southwest to Mass MOCA, a contemporary art museum housed in a historic factory campus. A grand space, for large-scale works. Multiple buildings connected by elevated walkways and courtyards, with big windows and light-filled spaces, pink brick walls softened by time.

A broad sweep of works from artists from far away China and Canada. Sculpture and art that are not what they seem at first glance – a bear sculpted out of wool, a copy of a traditional chinese ink painting created from natural debris and trash, a tiger-skin pelt built from cigarettes. A sculpture cast of latex, peeled like skin from an aging light-house, life and character preserved. A pair of mythic birds, illuminated and suspended in flight, created from construction debris left behind in the wake of urban development. Real and imagined urban places. Nearby, outside the mill buildings, murals of Arnold Print Works fabric dolls, formerly manufactured in the mills at MOCA.

The art and the lake, a deep breath of fresh air, the cozy wood-fire nice to come home to. A verse from the “Ode to Newfoundland”, stirred up in my memory by a quartet of photographs from the “Oh Canada” exhibit.

When spreads thy cloak of shimm’ring white,
At Winter’s stern command,
Thro’ shortened day and starlit night,
We love thee, frozen land,
We love thee, we love thee,
We love thee, frozen land.

Composed by Governor, Sir Cavendish Boyle


  1. Things are not what they seem and seasons are not what they seem. We must look closer, or is it deeper? It seems this is your invitation and the poem you chose in conclusion is that deeper perspective. Just a few words, but so powerful. Much enjoyed.


  2. Thank you for yet another post to make my day – so beautiful! Hm, MASS MOCA sounds familiar – I remember a visit there in the bright colors of fall – “one and a half winters of snow” ago…



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