Vol. IV No. 16 8/15/2023
Berkshire Botanical Garden Presents 'The Garden of Curiosity'
By Felix Carroll
The exhibit featuring works by Ann Getsinger, consists of oil paintings, mixed media drawings, and sculptures.
"Creating visual art is the closest I've ever come to having my life make any sense at all. It's both indulgent and essential," Getsinger says. "It's about balancing freedom and discipline in order to explore this temporary existence, to consider the meaning and sensuality of nature and my personal connection to it. I'm always challenged to go deeper."
The New Marlborough artist presents carefully observed and freely rendered objects in a range of outdoor settings, times of day, seasons, and weather. Oscillating between real and imaginary, each completed work is a fresh invention. Referencing her deep interest in natural history, subjects such as bones, insects, plants, seashells, fruit, leaves, vegetables, or the artist's signature choice of orange peels, are often centrally placed at or near eye level — and life size to inhabit the scene.
The Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts are often referenced in the backgrounds along with occasional ocean sites inspired from the artist's roots on the coast of Maine. The context presented between object and location becomes a question serving both artist and viewer as a starting place for curiosity to flow. Her work is lyrical, sensual, suggestive, scientific, romantic, conceptual, poetic, and ecological. This exhibit will also feature a small collection of Getsinger's "odder work," where subject and background lean towards a more overt metaphysical surrealism.
"Subjects are chosen for their capacity to delight me for any number of intentionally unexamined reasons," Getsinger says. "They are chosen often because of an oddness, or subconscious suggestion, maybe a frilly edge or an orb-shaped object the size of a human head, or something off balance, out of scale, smaller or larger than expected, a rutabaga's waxy exterior, or an antler for its specific way of tapering into a beaded riffle where it attaches to the deer's head or the beauty of the shadows it casts, as if the bones and shadows contain every motion of the creature they once were."
Ann Getsinger is a longtime collector of antique natural history prints and books. She enjoys finding resonance between seemingly different objects, scenes and subject matter. She says her inspiration comes from being in nature and through meaningful aspects and events of daily life.
Hours for Berkshire Botanical Garden's Leonhardt Galleries are 9 to 5 p.m., seven days a week.
Photo: Lionel Delevingne