“Syd Carpenter” Exhibit At Michener Art Museum
SCULPTURE PORTRAIT: Sculptor and ceramicist Syd Carpenter investigates issues of identity, memory, and ownership of land through sculpted portraits of African American gardens and farms in “Syd Carpenter: Portraits of Our Places,” on view at the Michener Art Museum October 16 through February 28.
The Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pa., will present its newest exhibit, “Syd Carpenter: Portraits of Our Places,” from October 16 through February 28.
This showing of sculptor and ceramicist Syd Carpenter investigates issues of identity, memory, and ownership of land through sculpted portraits of African American gardens and farms. This is the first solo exhibition of Carpenter’s work at the Michener Art Museum.
This exhibition of 11 large-scale pieces highlights Carpenter’s connection between sculpture and the art of gardening. Carpenter, a passionate gardener, has a deep personal connection to farms and gardens that stems from her grandmother Indiana Hutson’s bountiful vegetable garden in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. During WWII, Hutson provided for her family of seven children with the produce grown in her garden. It was in the ornamental garden of her mother Ernestine Carpenter where Carpenter first experienced the satisfaction of tending the land.
In 2012, after identifying several locations recommended to her by the Southern African American Organic Farmers Network, Carpenter visited several properties in Georgia, South Carolina, and the Gullah Islands. After talking with the farmers and observing and photographing details of their farms and gardens, she returned to her Philadelphia studio to produce a series of sculptures. Each of these works are named for the garden and farm owners in order to assert and honor their individuality in the face of historical erasure.
Combining botanical imagery and vernacular forms like clothes pins, tools, fences, and sheds, Carpenter’s sculptures offer an evocative statement of creativity and resilience by representing in sculpture the importance of African American stewardship of the land.
The Michener Art Museum is located at 138 South Pine Street in Doylestown, Pa. Museum hours are Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. For more information, ticketing, and safety protocols, visit michenerartmuseum.org or call (215) 340-9800.