MoCA Westport and the Westport Farmers’ Market (WFM) announce a new exhibition entitled Between the Ground and the Sky on view August 27 – October 17, 2021. 

Between the Ground and the Sky features photography from the Who Grows Your Food initiative, an intimate photographic journey celebrating the beloved farms and farmers associated with the Westport Farmers’ Market.

The centerpiece of the exhibition is more than 50 large-scale photographs, both color and black and white, of local farms by Anne Burmeister and Ashley Skatoff, two local accomplished photographers. The photographs tell a compelling and visually arresting story of the importance of local farms and farmers. The Who Grows Your Food initiative was developed by the Westport Farmers’ Market during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic as a means to educate people on the role that local farmers play in providing food for the community.

The exhibition also includes two site-specific installations by Kristyna and Marek Milde, a Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artist duo originally from Prague, Czech Republic, and the large natural sculptures by Southport-based artist Donna Forma. 

Kristyna and Marek Milde

The Milde’s works in the exhibition include:

In -Tree- Net: trees & plumbing hardware, dimensions variable

A site-specific installation, In-Tree-Net is a part of a series of installations created internationally in variety of settings. The concept of the project explores themes of environmental alienation of architecture and urban space, and examines the connections between the energy resources and nature. Developed in response to the place and architectural setting, In-Tree-Net is made of sections of trees and branches mounted on walls and ceiling. The installation is assembled together with plumbing hardware, its forms closely resemble conventional engineering systems that are bringing natural resources and energy such water, gas or electricity into the buildings. While confronting the industrial visual language with the organic forms, the project explores the dilemma between natural and artificial systems. Trees and their complex interconnection present in the ecosystem of the woods are here reduced to a rigid model representing the mechanistic and utilitarian approach towards Nature. In-Tree-Net highlights the natural elements in the architecture to recall the fact that the indoor lifestyle depends on vital natural resources that architecture tends to cover and hide. It represents the connection between the indoor and outdoor reality pointing to the environmental dependency of the seemingly independent interior environment.

Carpetorium, Lost and Found Gardens of Manhattan: discarded household/exotic plants, botanical signs, ornamental carpet with cut out circles, raised platform filled with soil & full-spectrum lighting, dimensions variable

Carpetorium, Lost and Found Gardens of Manhattan is a project that explores the reality and fiction of our everyday relationship to nature. Carpetorium investigates the connection of common household plants to a wider environment by following a story of botany that connects remote places such as Manhattan homes and tropical forests. The installation consists of a collection of exotic living plants found discarded on the streets of New York City organized and planted in a circular pattern into an ornamental carpet. The installation is placed on top of a raised platform creating a feeling of a flying carpet. The plants are featured in a botanical garden-like display, where the exhibits are usually showcased in their natural surroundings. Carpetorium uses an ornamental living room carpet to create a connection to the place of origin and a New York City apartment. Each plant has a botanical sign listing the name and the place where it was found, such as Upper East Side, Chelsea, etc., and the place of its origins such as Amazon Delta, revealing the transcontinental migration of plants from South America to NYC and their transformation from the wild into house plants.

For the purpose of Carpetorium, they undertook an expedition to seek and collect the abandoned flora of Manhattan, to investigate its destiny in the urban jungle and the role living plants have in our lives. Interestingly these plants often coming from the desert or the understory of the tropical forest are fragile and endangered in our homes as in many of the environments, where they originally came from. In the project, the Mildes are interested in creating a garden that will be a platform for awareness and a ground for a better understanding of our daily dealing with nature.

 Kristyna and Marek Milde are Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artists duo originally from Prague, Czech Republic. Their works explore environmental issues and alienation of contemporary lifestyles. The Mildes focus on deepening the awareness and relationship to place both private and public to reveal the wider and hidden context of everyday reality. In their art practice, they create installations, in-situ interventions and public art functioning as immersive platforms for engagement and experience connecting culture and nature.

The Mildes exhibit and present their work internationally in solo and group exhibitions including at Gallery G18, Zlin, CZ (2019), Westbeth Gallery, NYC (2019), Queens Museum, NYC (2018), Flux Factory, NYC (2018), Wave Hill, NYC (2017, 2014), Hudson Valley MoCA, Peekskill NY (2016); Temple Contemporary, Philadelphia (2015), EFA Project Space, NYC (2015), Smack Mellon Gallery, Brooklyn, (2014), Abrons Art Center, NYC (2013), DOX Center for Contemporary Art, Prague, Czech Republic (2013), Meet Factory, Prague, CZ (2013), Museum of Modern Art MoMA Studio, NYC (2012), Futura, Prague, CZ (2012), Karlín Studios, Prague, CZ (2012), Galerie Califia, Horazdovice, CZ (2011), NURTUREart, NYC (2011).

Donna Forma

Donna Forma’s works are natural or man made – made to look natural. They feature wood, bamboo, bark, dog fur, horse hair and other found materials. Her pieces are often types of shelters, nests, or hives – all metaphors of life not knowing if the protection is really safe or a threat – as is a wasp nest or bee hive. Or, they emphasize movement of evolving, as once again everything does.

Donna Forma aspires to the words of architect Louis Kahn, written as a eulogy about architect Carlo Scarpa:  

‘Beauty’

the first sense

Art

the first word

then Wonder

Then the inner realization of ‘Form”

The sense of the wholeness of inseparable elements.

Design consults Nature

to give presence to the elements

A work of art makes manifest the wholeness of the ‘Form’

a symphony of the selected shapes of the elements.

In the elements

the joint inspires ornament, its celebration.

The detail is the adoration of Nature

Forma’s grandfather, a superb gardener, chemist and inventor, introduced her to the wonders of nature at a young age. She started out as a traditional carver of stone and wood, and often found herself transferring the beauty of human forms and rhythms with the natural world, and vice versa. Many of her pieces have the feel of something you might come upon while walking.  They are types of shelters and hives, mimicking the human condition of what we do in life, making us feel we are somewhat in control, but not completely, as we do what we can to protect those we love. The National Sculpture Society elected her as one of only 179 Sculptor members, and awarded her the Lantz Award for Contemporary Sculpture in the Traditional Mode. Other awards include The Connecticut Commission on the Arts Fellowship, and top prizes at many group shows. Solo exhibitions include OK Harris (NYC), Flinn Gallery (Greenwich), Curtis Gallery (New Canaan), EBK Gallery (Hartford), and Five Points Gallery (Torrington). Her sculptures can be viewed by appointment in her studio and gallery in Southport, CT.

Anne Burmeister and Ashley Skatoff

Photographer Anne Burmeister is a farm kid from the Midwest. She has worked as an attorney and advocate for food security on both Coasts, but always with a camera close at hand. This project has allowed her to share her deep regard for farmers and the inherent beauty in their labors.  Anne lives in Westport with her family where she is also on the board at Wakeman Town Farm.

Ashley Skatoff is a photographer based in Westport, CT.  She worked as a business consultant in New York City prior to studying design at Parsons and starting a family.  Largely self taught, Ashley pursues projects that express an authenticity in humanity and nature.

The farms included are:

  • Calf and Clover Creamery, Cornwall Bridge, CT
  • Copps Island Oysters, Norm Bloom and Son, Norwalk, CT
  • Dirt Road Farm, Weston, CT
  • Fort Hill Farm, New Milford, CT
  • Gilbertie’s Organics, Easton, CT
  • Ideal Fish, Waterbury, CT
  • Lost Ruby Farm, Norfolk, CT
  • Muddy Feet Flower Farm, Ashford, CT
  • Ox Hollow Farm, Roxbury, CT
  • Riverbank Farm, Roxbury, CT
  • Rose’s Berry Farm, Glastonbury, CT
  • Sankow’s Beaver Brook Farm, Old Lyme, CT
  • Sea Coast Mushrooms, Mystic, CT
  • Sport Hill Farm, Easton, CT
  • Stonington Kelp Co., Stonington, CT
  • The Hickories, Ridgefield, CT
  • Wells Hill Farm, Weston, CT
  • Woodland Farm, Glastonbury, CT

Between the Ground and the Sky is on view during MoCA Westport’s Fall 2021 Hours. To learn more about the exhibition, contact Liz Leggett, MoCA Westport’s Director of Exhibitions, at liz@mocawestport.org or 203/222-7070. To learn more about the Who Grows Your Food initiative, contact Lori Cochran, Director of the Westport Farmers’ Market, at director@westportfarmersmarket.com.

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Learn more about the Who Grows Your Food movement in this video created by 4th Row Films.

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