A Visit To The Clark Museum

A detail of Harriet Campbell by Ammi Philips c1815

I had plans to go to Mass Moca with my friend Emily today.  But when she had to postpone,  I thought about me and Jon going to the Clark Museum in Williamstown MA.

It’s been a long time since Jon and I have been to a museum.  I was ready to see some art, it always inspires me.

But as I got into making my Spirit Owl Potholders, I was thinking of just staying home instead.  It was Jon who pushed going and I’m glad he did.  It’s good to break our routine to do something creatively nourishing.

The Clark has a wonderful permanent collection.   Even though I’ve seen it many times, I still enjoy looking at certain painting, like the Sargents.  And there is always a piece of art that I either haven’t seen before or that touches me in a way it hadn’t when I last saw it.

Part of the installation by Carolina Caycedo from the exhibit Humane Ecology

Jon and I wandered around and got bit lost. We found ourselves in the American Decorative Arts Gallery.  We were the only people there besides the security guard and she seemed excited to have someone to tell about the Silver collection.

Her enthusiasm was infectious. Silver is not something I have an interest in, but her stories got me to look at the pitches and cups and appreciate them.

We missed most the Humane Ecology exhibit of contemporary work because it was in a separate building.  But we did see the installation by Carolina Caycedo.  I was immediately taken with the images of plants and women and the medium of woven tapestries.  It was about the equal exchange of what we take from the earth and giving back in a nurturing way.   It felt as warm and embracing as its message.

We did find our way to one of the main galleries that has three  John Singer Sargent paintings.  We sat down on the bench in front of the for a while and just looked.

Throughout our time there, looking at the paintings, I remind myself that I’m looking at paint on canvas. That helps me see the brush strokes for what they are and not what they have become whether a piece of cloth or a person face.

Our world is so full of images, it’s easy to take painting for granted.  But when a painting pulls me in for one reason or another and I take the time to really look, I begin to feel the paint and the experience is visceral instead of just visual.

Detail of Sargents Fumee d’Ambre Gris

6 thoughts on “A Visit To The Clark Museum

  1. thank you for getting me to look at the online Clark Museum’s collections. There is a beautiful Winslow Homer painting of a woman sitting sidesaddle on a white horse. (The Bridal Path, White Mountains) that I made my screensaver.

    1. They have some very well known artists and painting there Sharon. A room of Renior (although I never took to his paintings) Monet’s and Degas. And a whole room dedicated to Homer. My favorite is the sled in the snow.

  2. The Sleigh Ride is magical because it is almost out of our view. And the light patch in the sky almost above it. Also many Degas and Renoirs, and did not yet get to the English painters like Constable and Turner. Amazing!

    1. Yes, it’s very abstracted Sharon. I love the big shapes. And Turner, I forgot about Turner. They have a few really nice ones, also he most abstract. And Cloud studies by Constable which I love.

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