Weir Farm National Historic Site
Betty Tompkins: Weir Deer
Weir Farm, Connecticut's only national park, was the country home of the American Impressionist J. Alden Weir who, along with his friends Childe Hassam, John Twachtman, and Albert Pinkham Ryder, painted there for nearly 40 years.
Weir Deer is the result of Betty Tompkins' invitation from the Weir Farm Trust Visiting Artists Program to create a site-specific installation. Weir Deer, the artist's first outdoor installation, consists of five cast concrete sculptures of deer painted with scenes of the Weir Farm. The pedestal is an earth mound arc 27 feet long. Each deer is 22 1/2 inches high x 25 1/2 inches long x 12 inches wide.
Betty Tompkins, the artist, says "My favorite way to think about art history is as a conversation. It is a method that allows contemporary artists an opportunity to re-view the work of our predecessors. I picked the deer as the form for this installation because they are populous in the area, they are graceful and beautiful to look at, and they were here before we were. I painted the concrete deer with views of the Weir Farm that most symbolize the beauty and the importance of the place to me. The siting of the piece in the field allows the viewer to simultaneously see the Burlington barn in reality and as a painted illusion warped over the form of a deer. In addition to Weir's ideas about painting, the landscape was very important to him. In addition to my ideas about painting, a gentle humor is important to me. Weir Deer is both referential (he was here) and autobiographical (so was I)."
The exhibit is on view through the Summer, 1999 season. The Weir Farm Trust may be reached at 203.761.9945.
Photos of art installation courtesy of the artist.
Read more about the Weir Farm National Historic Site in Resource Library
For further biographical information on selected artists cited in this article please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.
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