Adirondack History Museum welcomes sculptor Randi Renate | Best Stories
ELIZABETHTOWN – The interior staircase and frame for a new temporary sculpture take shape outside the Adirondack History Museum. Freshly sawn, thick local cedar scaffolding from Westport is being built on a patch of lawn centered in front of the Colonial Garden.
Sculptor Randi Renate, of San Antonio, Texas, is a recent master of fine arts graduate from the Yale School of Art, where her thesis installation has not been seen due to COVID-19 restrictions. Her transit to and through the Adirondack Mountains last year provided months of inspiration, and this work, she said, is one way to share her gratitude.
The temporary installation is called “blue is the atmospheric refraction I see you through” and will be completed this month.
The sphere will have two stairs on either side that meet at the top of the 14 foot sculpture. Renate worked on the fabrication in an Elizabethtown studio with her fiancee and artist Raul de Lara. She designed the job for the Adirondacks.
“When you climb to the top of a peak, the expansive bird’s-eye view offers distance and perspective. Climbing the sculpture mimics the act of crossing these mountains which have given me so much artistic inspiration and personal growth, ”said Renate.
The work in progress is a participatory project separate from the Adirondack History Museum series of exhibits this season.
But it complements the museum’s 2021 exhibition of women artists, celebrating both local residents and women who took inspiration from the mountain landscape. “A Woman’s View – Recogning Artists in the Adirondacks” is on display inside the museum as Renate’s sculpture progresses across the grounds.
Once completed, visitors can climb to the top of the sculpture for a view that encompasses the fire tower on Hurricane Mountain.
“I think this project is very timely right now, after the pandemic,” Renate said. “Even at the top, there is a distance between you and another person. But it is also a meeting point, a meeting place.
The sphere itself represents movement and ascent towards what is possible.
“The dome can be a mountain, an observatory, a planet. For me, form holds a lot of momentum that pushes these concepts together, like currents. The spheres are shaped by gravity, ”said Renate of the concept of the design. “I want viewers to think about the interdependence of people and nature.”
The sculpture frame and smooth shell are made from locally sourced Adirondack cedar. The blue-gray wash that will finish the piece is a color found in the outermost layers of a mountain landscape.
“The blue color finish of the artwork is taken from our expansive atmosphere: seeing from afar atop a summit,” said Renate.
The participatory installation offers a meeting space – a ground to see and be seen by others, to recognize and be recognized.
“I felt so much gratitude living in the Adirondacks. This is my thank you to the mountains and the people, ”said Renate.
As she has been working for the past few weeks, many locals and people who work in the city have stopped by to ask questions about the artist’s process.
“This is an important part of the Museum’s mission,” said Museum Director General Aurora McCaffrey. “Our museum looks more than just the rich history of the region, it also considers how these mountains and the landscape have inspired so many people who come here. We welcome the opportunity to provide artists with a place to develop and exhibit their work.
The sculpture will remain on site until the 2021 season. An opening reception is scheduled for August 13 at 5 pm and is open to the public.
Renate worked with the city to secure permits for the project, which is funded, in part, by the Decentralization Program, a grant program from the New York State Council on the Arts with support from Governor Andrew M Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
The funds are administered by the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts.