Betty Woodman is one of the most celebrated ceramics artists working today, and six of her seven cast bronze and hand-painted garden benches will be on display from August 1- November 15, 2016, at Greenwood Gardens in Short Hills, New Jersey.
The benches were created over the past 17 years and will be sited amid the garden's Italianate terraces, meandering paths, and ornamental trees and shrubs. The exhibition marks the largest showing of Woodman's benches in the United States, and it also includes a bronze table and two large outdoor clay flowerpots.
Greenwood's founder Peter Blanchard says "It is a special pleasure to see these formally inventive and colorful benches where the artist intended them to be -- in a garden, not a gallery." Exhibit curator Patterson Sims, former director of the Montclair, NJ, Art Museum, says the show will be a revelation for anyone who associates Woodman's works with clay. "The bronze benches reflect the colorful motifs and formal inventiveness of Woodman's sculptures and multi-part wall and floor installations," he says, and "after more than six decades of working primarily with the malleable but fragile medium of clay, bronze allows her to create unbreakable functional objects in the context of nature and architecture."
Greenwood Gardens is a 28-acre public garden that was a private estate until 2003, when it was transformed into a botanical garden. the Main House and surrounding terraces have been restored, but much still remains to be done. The Garden Conservancy has provided help and continues to support Greenwood as one of the 16 exceptional gardens it endorses.