Two new exhibits open at the Hammond Museum


The Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden in North Salem is showcasing two new exhibits for the duration of the summer and fall months. The exhibits, both curated by Bibiana Huang Matheis, display a connection to nature.

Becoming a Bird, by Sarah Haviland, is a mixed-media exhibit which combines sculptures, drawings and installations that are accompanied with mythical stories. The birds on display portray a variety of birds: real birds, mythical birds and human-avian hybrids. The exhibit explores the relationship between humans and birds. During her research, Haviland had cross-disciplinary conversations with anthropologists, curators, religious scholars, bird-watchers and environmental artists.

“Sarah spent time in Taiwan several years ago, where she conducted her research, so she has incorporated Chinese stories into her artwork,” said Huang Matheis. “I have worked with her for many years, she is really amazing!”

Haviland used hardware-store metal mesh and wire as the skeleton of the birds, as well as colorful recycled materials such as found papers and plastics. Working with tinsnips and pliers, she used techniques borrowed from sewing, metalwork and papercraft.

“Because of the mesh, the birds are very light-looking, but the amount of workmanship in terms of quantity and skill is quite striking,” said Hammond Museum Executive Director Elizabeth Hammer Munemura. “They are exceptional works in terms of skill and visual impact.”

Places of Offering, by artist Ceci Cole McInturff, is an exhibit that uses ephemeral objects that eventually decompose.

“I use plant and animal material and I find it compelling to use those,” said McInturff. “I’m not using materials such as plastic and polyurethane to make them last longer than their decomposed lifespan - I am letting them wear away.”

McInturff describes her work in the exhibit as an intuitive, quiet work but also quite rough.

“Each piece has a statement,” she said. “It is a study of materials and a use of materials to make an emotional metaphor. Some people find implicit or intuitive feelings or connections to them, and they may find them interesting to look at them, but there is no story or message.”

McInturff recognizes the relationship to nature, which some viewers might find when looking at her pieces.

“The more I use plant and animal material, which are called organic ephemera, I see that there is a lot of intuitive wisdom to seeing these materials,” she said. “You can see how nature is reflected in the pieces and people can realize that nature is impermanent; we are impermanent. It means cherish and love each aspect, even if something has lived a life cycle. There can be beauty in death, we are always changing, everything in nature is always changing.”

One of the pieces in the exhibit is Sable Palm husk, which McInturff literally scooped up after it fell in front of her.

“I was in Sunset Boulevard in California and a 10-foot Sable Palm husk, which Sunset Boulevard is known for, fell in front of me,” she said. “It was a dead tree but it was so beautiful. I wondered what would be the outcome if I tried to work with it. I shipped it to my house and had it hanging from the air conditioning vent in the ceiling and I started weaving it. I spent a year weaving it and I started thinking about feelings, for example, what can you do when things change. Having these thoughts is what keeps me wanting to work with these types of materials.”

McInturff is looking forward to the exhibit and to the possibility of having the viewers see her work from their personal point of view.

“I am hoping they will see it in their own subjective way when they look at it,” she said. “I’m really grateful to have it here on display at the Hammond.”

The exhibits open on July 10 and there will be an artist reception that day from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Both exhibits are on view through November 2021. They are open during museum hours: Wednesday - Saturday, 12 to 4 p.m. The Hammond Museum is located at 26 Deveau Road in North Salem. Visit for more information.

Images courtesy of Hammond Museum.

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