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Article Published April 11, 2019
Nature as a Canvas
Erin Shanley, Audience Engagement Editor

When the calendar reads March 20, Mother Nature starts using the world as her canvas. She brushes off the snow, uncovers the lush greenery waiting beneath it, and with a swish of her brush paints trees and gardens with her palette of bright colors. It's a sight to see, and hold up a frame and you could picture it in a museum. Some artists find it so inspiring that they use it as their canvas, and some of these places are within driving distance.

 

The Glass House, New Canaan

When architect Philip Johnson acquired nearly 50 acres of land in New Canaan, he would not just design a house but curate an entire cohesive landscape. The property can only be accessed with guided tours and is gated off, a gate that is somewhat flirtatious as anyone could easily walk around it but is still daunting enough where you know unwelcome visitors will be met with extreme consequences.

Upon entering, the old farm house that was there when Johnson bought the property stands on the right, and on the left is the last building he designed that is totally abstract, reflecting the work that he contributed to modern architecture.

The Glass House is still unseen at this point, and will remain so until you walk down the path leading to where it sits. When you're inside, you get a completely unobstructed view of the 49 acres that surround it, making you feel like you're a part of it while having a glass wall between you.

Other structures on the property are architecturally designed to fit in with its surroundings, like the Pavilion in the Pond, which is scaled down to make it seem bigger than it really is. Every detail of the property was taken into consideration when he was designing the landscape, down to framing buildings with trees when looking at them at a certain angle.

The Glass House opens on May 2. For more information, visit theglasshouse.org.

 

Storm King Art Center, New Windsor, NY

The setting starts with an open grassy field with green grass as far as the eye can see that's bordered with wavy strokes of bumpy mountains in the distance. In the middle of these wide open spaces are larger-than-life, abstract sculptures that frame the natural space they're in and play on viewers' perspectives.

Everything about Storm King invites the beholder to fully immerse themselves in the pieces, whether it's being able to walk right up to a sculpture that seems like it's as tall as a skyscraper or standing beneath an installation that hovers right above their head. In a way, the viewer becomes part of the art, part of the natural surroundings, and everything is seemingly interconnected.

Storm King Art Center is open for the season. For more information, visit stormking.org.

 

The Sculpture Mile, Guilford to Stonington

Getting an experience like this doesn't require a lot of travel. Whether you're strolling through downtown Madison or driving along back roads, The Sculpture Mile adorns the shoreline from Guilford to Stonington with one-of-a-kind pieces that are like Connecticut's own Storm King. The exhibits get updated every year in June, with about half of the pieces getting replaced. Sculptures range from large to small and come in a variety of mediums. If you're feeling adventurous, or like you just need to know more about these intriguing and mysterious sculptures spread out across the shoreline, private tours are available, and better yet, for free.

For more information on The Sculpture Mile, visit hollycroft.org.