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Inside Out: Gallery and Garden Installations by Susan P. Cochran and Frank Ruggles

Sponsored by the Gentlemen of the Garden
by Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens
March 6, 2011

Bronzes by Susan P. Cochran

From infancy art, music, sewing and knitting were an integral part of life of Susan Cochran. As a child Susan's father taught her to identify a plethora of flora and fauna and had her herding cattle, breaking yearlings, handling reptiles or out fishing, scuba diving, and shooting. All of these influences help shape her artist vision.

Native American beadwork caught Susan's attention leading her to create ceremonial dresses, moccasins, bags and feathers. Finding the normal methods of beading flat she began incorporating dimension to her work.

In 2001 Susan began sculpting when her friend Helmut Koller asked that she create a chair for a fundraising event. A new door opened with her creation of a bronze chair entitled T.H. Smith, a pair of floating overalls. This lead to a series of benches and chairs one of which, "After the Fire" went into the New York Firemen’s Museum. Susan wanted people to interact with her sculpture instead of just circling them "like buzzards on a kill" and has gone on to create everything from giant ants to oversized African stick fighters. Her ant series has traveled from Florida to Dubai to Las Vegas.

Coming full circle to the flora and fauna of her childhood Susan will present her newest series “Seedpods” cast in bronze and reflective of her keen sense of observation.

Frank Ruggles – A Thousand Days in our National Parks

When we think of great photographers few come to mind. Avedon,Stieglitz , Ansell Adams and soon we will add the name of Frank Lee Ruggles to that short list. Ansell Adams, master of the American Landscape began his work for the National Parks in 1941, where he created some of most iconic images of America. Frank Ruggles continues the tradition of capturing those iconic images today.

An exhibition of his photographic works will be on display both in the galleries at the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens and with large format works installed in its gardens. The Organic Act of 1916 created the National Park Service "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife therein, and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” It has been Ruggles' goal to show us that unimpaired beauty. Whether it is an Alaskan Glacier with secret blue ice caves or Flowers in the middle of a remote desert, the former photographer for the National Parks has committed to not only seeking to find and record the beauty but protecting it as well through education and fundraising for preservation foundations.

Today the 394 Parks Monuments in the National Parks system extend to all 50 states and territories. Frank Lee Ruggles, has photographed over 100 of the parks, logged 25000 miles on his journey of the past four years. He can often be found climbing out on ledges, hanging off of cliffs, walking on volcanoes and sitting for hours waiting patiently for the image that would capture the portraits of the American Beauty he sees through his lens. His hikes often take him far off the beaten path to discover the lesser known views of these well known places. Many of the locations seem familiar but have your every really asked yourself how the photo was captured. To what extent would you go to take a photo? Ruggles still hasn't found that situation yet that he would not undertake to "get the shot" , his military training often comes in handy in his exploration of his ultimate passion---America. The magic of his works is that we somehow imagine we are there. Through his images, we can imaging ourselves high above a bluff with the ocean crashing below while balanced on a stone arch created by punishing waves, experiencing the beauty with our own eyes.

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