Andy Moerlein brings nature indoors; MAP experiments in Manchester
By Heidi Masek firstname.lastname@example.org
Give Andy Moerlein some space outdoors and he can fill it with an installation — a big one. Some of the sculptures he exhibited in the fall at The Derryfield School, where he teaches and manages a gallery, were more than 20 feet tall. Last summer he put a towering sapling sculpture outside the Mill Brook Gallery and Sculpture Garden as part of a group sculpture show.
Now the focus is on Moerlein and what he can do with indoor-sized art in “sticks and stones and Fiberglass” at Mill Brook, 236 Hopkinton Road in Concord.
The Alaskan native started building big when he moved to New Hampshire 12 years ago and found opportunity at outdoor art venues. He often builds small models to solve problems he might have with large sculptures before creating the final piece.
But they aren’t just models. They are “remnants of a piece.” Sometimes the model is all he has left after a temporary outdoor sculpture is disassembled.
The pieces involve trees, rocks, twigs, branches and trunks, gallery owner Pam Tarbell said. Art students will be visiting the gallery. “It’s just a really cool show,” she said, and “It sort of jolts your eyes from preconceptions you have about art.”
Moerlein set out to create original small works for Mill Brook’s indoor gallery, a challenge in the tight space, he said. There are about a dozen of these originals that he hasn’t shown before 2008. He worked on some right up until he hung the show, which opened April 1. “But that means [the] pieces have a relationship to each other that’s very immediate, very fresh,” he said.
As intriguing as Moerlein’s work is, it’s usually museums or galleries that are interested in paying for such an item as an installation for a few months. “Then it goes in the dumpster and we’re both happy,” he said.
But his new smaller pieces are geared for people with ordinary houses or apartments who want to collect art. The work is more “intimate” and “modest,” but “in terms of ideas, they are still rich in what I want to say,” he said.
They look fragile and “seem kind of precarious ... I love that idea,” he said. Precariousness implies a “sense of movement” and temporariness,” he said.
The show runs through May 4. Meet Moerlien at a gallery opening Sunday, April 13, from 2 to 5 p.m.
Moerlien, of Bow, attended Dartmouth and Cornell for his BA and MFA respectively. He has also exhibited at the Hood Museum in Hanover, Boston Common and the Norman Rockwell Museum.