At late dawn of my last morning at the Josephine Sculpture Park, I sat in the black Cushman utility cart at the top of the knoll staring across the rolling, open expanse at either sides of the sculpture-lined entrance road. To the left is a green grassy field. To the right is a meadow mid-restoration: odd heights of brown-gold overgrowth, big stones emerging from the earth at sharp angles, and knotted roots twisting above the lumpy, caked soil. This area of land sits between the entrance and a looming tobacco barn— well-worn and aged. Indeed, this used to be a tobacco field before it was a corn field. Now it’s in the process of growing Kentucky-native plants by seed.

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Resident Sherwin Rio at Josephine Sculpture Park – LAY OF THE BLUE GRASS LANDS

By Sherwin Rio

Me exploring the JSP Grounds.

When I stepped out of the small thirteen-row airplane on Monday morning I was in the Bluegrass state, in the Bluegrass airport, feeling admittedly a little blue. I had recently moved out of a memory-filled art studio space in San Francisco, just completed two jobs I loved, realized I forgot to water my plants at home, said goodbye to a close friend, and hadn’t eaten anything. Sleeping on the redeye flight would’ve also been nice.

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Shohei Katayama Farewell | ISC/GFS Summer Residency

Hand drawn gold sharpie doodle on black acrylic, 80” x 99”

The International Sculpture Center residency at Grounds for Sculpture was a fruitful experience that pushed me to create, reflect, and consider the content of my work and my identity as an artist — I had an exhilarating time engaging in conversations with artists, educators, and staff that I hope to take with me to the future. 

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ISC/GFS Resident | Tyler Gaston: Inspired to Create

Things have settled down a bit since I first arrived at the Residency.  I have found a groove in the studio and have been primarily working on two large projects.  These new sculptures were conceived from life scale models I made during my first week here.  Recently I have been inspired by architectural materials and sculptural forms of mass and weight.  I am also embracing the freedom and permission to create.  As an artist, this experience is psychologically different than my recent time spent in academia.

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ISC/GFS Resident Shohei Katayama | Experiments, Cities, a Beach, and a Plasma Physics Lab

It’s been roughly two weeks since the residency started. My time in the studio has been, to say the least, experimental — not much has been produced. However, it’s been productive in terms of exploring materials, developing prototypes, and appreciating Tyler’s skill and process. As for the time outside of the studio, it’s been exhilarating and adventurous. In the last week I took the NJ transit to New York for delicious ramen and to play with a human powered outdoor kinetic sculpture, drove twice to Philadelphia to attend several art openings, a day trip to Asbury Park to lounge by the beach and feel the sand between my toes, and a visit to Princeton’s Plasma Physics Lab — only to be reminded of how little I know about the Universe. Grounds For Sculpture’s proximity to these locations is ideal for fostering and replenishing creative juice, something that was much needed for my soul.

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ISC/GFS Resident Tyler Gaston | Getting Acclimated

Week one at the ISC residency at Grounds for Sculpture has been magical and immersive. Inside the sculpture park I’ve been admiring the works of Bernar Venet and Emilie Benes Brzezinski, among many others.  The Grounds are host to a vast variety of beautiful trees, botanicals and plant life which has been particularly enjoyable during the late evening hours when the weather cools off.  Peacocks wander the Grounds and are a pleasant surprise to patrons as they stumble upon a new area of the park.

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ISC/GFS Resident Shohei Katayama | Sculpture: A Nexus Between Nature and Humankind

There is an inherent beauty in nature that induces a sense of awe and magic. It leaves us speechless and surrounds us with the presence of something vast that transcends our understanding of the world and generates ephemeral, fleeting sensations that are difficult to describe in words. In facing nature, we experience a diminishing emphasis on the individual self, a connectedness, a sense of encouragement to improve the welfare of others, and a deep appreciation for the complexity of life and one’s existence. Shifting our lens toward larger entities and simultaneously surrendering the ego can trigger altruism, compassion, and magnanimous behavior. Perhaps beauty serves a vital social function.

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