About Me

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Spofford, New Hampshire, United States
Jeff Newcomer had been a physician practicing in New Hampshire and Vermont for over 30 years. Over that time, as a member of the Conservation Commission in his home of Chesterfield New Hampshire, he has used his photography to promote the protection and appreciation of the town's wild lands. In recent years he has been transitioning his focus from medicine to photography, writing and teaching. Jeff enjoys photographing throughout New England, but has concentrated on the Monadnock Region and southern Vermont and has had a long term artistic relationship with Mount Monadnock. He is a featured artist in a number of local galleries and his work is often seen in regional print, web publications and in business installations throughout the country. For years Jeff has published a calendar celebrating the beauty of The New England country-side in all seasons. All of the proceeds from his New England Reflections Calendar have gone to support the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at the Cheshire Medical Center. Jeff has a strong commitment to sharing his excitement about the special beauty of our region and publishes a blog about photography in New England.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Grounds for Sculpture, and for Photography

A Great Reason to Visit New Jersey, Finally

As I am getting ready for the start of my Adobe Lightroom Course, which starts tomorrow, I wanted to step back briefly to share images of a magical location for art and nature in New Jersey.

Grounds for Sculpture is a sculpture park and museum situated among 43 acres of beautifully maintained gardens, occupying the former New Jersey State Fair Grounds in Hamilton New Jersey.  A wide range of sculpture, from massive modern works of abstract art to intimate, life-sized sculptural recreations of impressionistic paintings, are scattered along narrow paths which wind through the gardens.

The Scream
We visited on an unseasonably mild afternoon in late December, and although the gardens were anything but lush, they remained a lovely refuge. Additionally, visiting in winter meant that we shared the park with only a few other people.  We would like to return in the spring or summer, but we appreciated the quiet, and the lack of visitors made photography a much simpler task.

Art Recreated

Renor and Van Gogh

One of the most surprising features of the park is the many recreations of familiar works of art.  These elaborate sculptures were created by Seward Johnson who founded the park.   Perhaps the most striking and whimsical is seen as you leave the Welcome Center.  Right next to the park entrance is an massive sculpture of Renoir’s “Dance at Bogival”, and immediately in front is Van Gogh, sitting at his easel, gazing on the Renoir masterpiece, but painting his own, “CafĂ© Terrace at Night”.

Nearby, on a grassy hill, is Monet’s Woman with Umbrella.

After Manet's "Argenteuil"

Many of the sculptures allow visitors to become part of the art, as they can sit next to the works on benches, or around a beautifully set sculpture of a formal dinner table.

Questioning Reality
Many sculptures are meant to fit into the environment.  Around bends in the paths we came upon a couple embracing in the bushes or napping at the edge of the gardens. We had to cautiously approach to be sure that they were not alive.

 The exhibits both among the gardens and in the museums are constantly rotating.  We saw numerous abstract pieces along with others that were more representational.  The sculpture of a dramatic head surrounded by a herd of sheep was especially bizarre, but I particularly enjoyed the stately female figure-head which seemed to float on one of the park’s ponds. 

There were many more interesting works that I could mention, but for me it was mostly enjoyable to photograph my way through the park.  The bright light provided interesting challenges, and every bend in the path presented a new opportunity to capture examples of wildly varying artistic expression.  Grounds for Sculpture is definitely worth a stop, and it is great to know that now there is a good reason to go to New Jersey.

Grounds for Sculpture Gallery

Jefff Newcomer