Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

July 25, 2018

PREVIEW: TurnPark Art Space, A New Sculpture Park & Cultural Hub

TurnPark Art Space, West Stockbridge, MA
by Carol Bousquet

By one definition, “Sculpture is the branch of the visual arts that operates in three dimensions.” The same can be said of TurnPark Art Space, in West Stockbridge, Massachusetts. TurnPark is billed as a new Sculpture Park in the Berkshires. After visiting, one discovers it is so much more, perhaps even world-class in this category. Founders Igor Gomberg and Katya Brezgunova are offering a new and provocative multi-dimensional playground to art lovers of all ilk.

Gomberg and Brezgunova are daring and generous in their vision for this new space situated on 16-beckoning acres, once a granite quarry. They state, “Our main goal has not been to build a traditional collection of artworks, but rather to create a community of interesting people that we can share our life and inspiration with.” There is something for everyone, sculpture, dance, music, theater, science lectures, movies, interactive pieces for children.

Their inspiration was through a friendship with the renowned Russian sculptor Nikolay Silis in Moscow who they grew to know from the vibrant community he created. Silis said, "Art is the only way to recapture cosmos from chaos." Subsequently, the first sculpture in their park became Nikolay Silis’ Don Quixote With a Flower (1973, hammered copper)—the idealistic knight who responded to the world in a way that was consistent with his own vision. From that vision TurnPark was born.

There are numerous instances of the couple’s use of granite in large, small and creative ways throughout the park. The crushed granite strewn at the beginning of the meadow pathway is as if walking on diamonds. It is a propitious start to what evolves as an inspiring adventure.

Among the undulating meadows and forest there are a variety of stunning sculptures set among natures canvas. A sheer granite cliff drops 65 feet into a serene pond, a powerful natural backdrop to the park where on a ledge sits “Reflection” a sculpture also by Silis (1990, granite.) Utterly natural yet intentional the cliff serves as a vertical stage reflecting the sculpture into the pond below. Recently, the brave soprano Ariadne Greif scaled the cliff to get into position for a performance of composer Mátti Kovler’s musical theatre performance of Floating Tower, a collaboration marking the opening of celebrated Georgian-American visual artist and designer Uta Bekaia’s installation of “Inhabitants of Childhood.” The other musicians were tucked among the art and gardens, truly a “multi-dimensional” experience.

An amphitheater, set to one side of a sloping meadow, is beautifully framed by nature -- and art. Created with the help of local granite artisans, the structure becomes a model of the ancient Greek/Roman amphitheaters. The audience will sit among the sculptures of Konstantin Simun looking out as are his pieces titled, “Faces.” Picture it, your faces and his, together absorbing what there is to see. Joyful.

The indoor galleries feature sculpture and more. There is an exhibition displayed indoor and out by Gene Montez Flores (Landscapes 1980-2018). Montez Flores (Plainfield, MA) fell in love with Japanese architecture early in his career and, around that time, learned to weld. He continues to use his flame-cutting torch for his sumi-like lines cut in steel. The pieces inside the gallery are meant to be touched, opened; some resemble books and are so finely engineered, they’re as amazing open as closed. In the “barn” are multiple pieces including fine art lithographs, another collection with an amazing story about the first felt-tip markers ever to appear in Russia years ago inspiring Nikolai Silis’ Centaurs exhibit.

Attention was paid to the layout and architecture as well. Gomberg and Brezgunova worked closely with a team of designers and architects on the concept and masterplan for the project. It certainly shows. The main building construction mimics the lines of the Berkshire mountain range seen from the park.

A piece that is sure to coax a reaction to visitors is another by Silis, Lazy Ladies (1996, hammered copper).Three women repose among the trees as if suspended from above.

Look closely, Rain by Nazar Bilyk (2012, bronze, glass), features a raindrop on the face of the subject while looking up at the sky. 
Gomberg and Brezgunova learned during the process of buying the property that it was located on Moscow Road, a wonderful omen perhaps?

Berkshire sightseers will not want to miss this new art space; it’s worth a day trip on its own. Everything at TurnPark was thoughtfully and intentionally conceived to marry architecture, art, nature and performance; there is something for all ages. It truly is a space for education and discovery.

TurnPark Art Space is located at 2 Moscow Road, West Stockbridge, MA 01266 and is open Wednesday – Monday (closed Tuesday), from 10am - 6pm or for special events.

All photos by Carol Bousquet