Black angus cows and horses roam all 140 acres of rolling fields at Saunders Farm in Garrison. The 18th-century estate offers majestic vistas of the Hudson Highlands as each season's hues unfold. As if the scene couldn't be more archetypal of the region's rustic reputation, an art installation by Collaborative Concepts on the farm in September and October integrates sculpture with nature, reflecting the area's historically artsy roots.
Over 70 artists from the Hudson Valley and beyond have assembled animal-friendly sculptures to complement the surrounding landscapes—grazing cows and horses are imagined to admire the pieces while they dine. Installations of various media and sizes seem to crop up out of the earth or sprout from the trees; some past works have been wrought from aluminum, brick, concrete, glass, fabric, mirrors, reeds, steel, and stone. To protect the cows and horses, artists were forbidden from using cables, holes, or sharp edges in their work.
This is the 10th anniversary of Collaborative Concepts exhibits at Saunders Farm. A not-for-profit, this nonmembership organization is dedicated to fostering artful accomplishments that provide the community with prodigious cultural experiences. "It's a wonderful creative extravaganza for the locals," says Sarah Haviland, board member and participating artist since 2006. Her sculptures, winged women composed of cement, metal, and mesh, have evolved over the years to include tones of blue, green, gold, and red. "I know I'm not alone in this, but I've used the farm to experiment with my work," says Haviland. This year's selected artist is Herman Roggeman, one of the founding members of Collaborative Concepts. The owner of Metconix, a metal fabrication business in Beacon, he founded Collective Concepts in 1999 with fellow artist Peter Clark. His featured work, Silver, is an immense steel sculpture.
Each sculpture's relationship to its backdrop is intimate; Collaborative Concepts board members coach the artists on making their work suitable to be displayed outdoors. New and regular participating artists learn as they go, some creating site-specific projects out of durable materials, conscious of the high winds and other elements out in the fields. Less than one sculpture per two acres is allowed across the exhibit. According to Haviland, knowledge of the terrain and the ability to fashion pieces that coexist with rather than overpower the landscape are important.
An opening reception on September 5 features performance art from 2 to 6pm in the fields, with staged music from 3:30 to 6pm. A midrun reception on October 3 will also feature dance, opera, and theatrical performances.
All installations at Saunders Farm are impermanent, so as not to disrupt native ecosystems, and many sculptures are for sale. Visitors are welcome from 10am till dusk through the end of October. (845) 528-1797; Collaborativeconcepts.org.