Maine nail sculptor featured at Shelburne Museum

John Bisbee, “Hearsay” (detail), 2013, welded nails. On loan from the artist. “Hearsay” is included in the new exhibition “John Bisbee: New Blooms” on view at Shelburne Museum in Shelburne Jan. 18 through May 26.

John Bisbee, “Hearsay” (detail), 2013, welded nails. On loan from the artist. “Hearsay” is included in the new exhibition “John Bisbee: New Blooms” on view at Shelburne Museum in Shelburne Jan. 18 through May 26.

An exhibition of contemporary sculpture by artist John Bisbee opens in the new Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education at Shelburne Museum on Saturday, Jan. 18. An opening reception with the artist is planned for Friday, Jan. 17, from 7-9 pm. The exhibition runs through May 26.

“John Bisbee: New Blooms” features new work by the inventive sculptor from Maine. Bisbee’s works are created out of 12-inch bright common nails that are wrought individually and then welded together for the finished form.

“For 28 years I have been exclusively welding nails together, and for the last decade, just 12-inch bright common spikes,” said Bisbee. For “New Blooms,” Bisbee has created several floral-inspired pieces that include “Thicket,” a densely tangled cluster of flowers – the stems made from elongated spikes and the blooms from the nail head.

Each of the gallery’s walls is hung with monumental works, including “Pelt,” made with approximately 5,000 spikes placed at varied angles and spacing so as to evoke an animal’s coat.  “Hearsay” is a large-scale, funnel-shaped piece in which welding creates a brocade-like effect.

“John’s sculptures are some of the most creative and impressive contemporary work I’ve seen,” said Shelburne Museum Director Thomas Denenberg. “His ability to make something new and beautiful out of a material as overlooked and seemingly inflexible as the common nail is awe-inspiring. This work is a fascinating present-day artistic interpretation of collections and materials that are abundant at Shelburne Museum.”

On Feb. 8, “Supercool Glass” will open in the Diana and John Colgate Gallery of the Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education. The exhibition will explore the world of cutting-edge glass design by viewing the work of contemporary artists through the lens of Shelburne Museum’s historical collection. The exhibit will run through June 8.

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