Schweinfurth opens outdoor exhibit in Skaneateles

“Sweeping Statement,” a soft sculpture by Binghamton artist Anna Warfield, is a public art installation organized by the Schweinfurth Art Center. It will be on display at East Lake Road and Pork Street in the town of Skaneateles through Nov. 28, 2020.

“This project began as a necessary response to the changing art landscape as a result of COVID-19,” Warfield said. “With my own discomfort engaging with art in interior spaces, I wanted to adapt my practice to present my work in a safe and accessible manner.”

Warfield’s piece consists of letters made of water-resistant nylon with an additional layer of water resistant coating and stuffed with Poly-fil that spell out sweeping statement. The letters are suspended on cables between posts, allowing them to seemingly float. “It’s not intended to exist forever outdoors, but it was certainly made with Upstate New York’s ever changing weather at the forefront of my mind,” she said.

She chose the text to complement the landscape, and its meaning is open to interpretation by the viewer. “For me, it’s about the creation of conversations which can go multiple directions but all originate from the same place,” she said.

Warfield’s artwork focuses on words because, as a woman, she often felt her words were interrupted and disregarded. “Working with text was my response to that feeling,” she said. “It’s my way of forcing the attention and conversation in a space towards my ideas and what I have to say.”

Equally as important to her is working with fabric. “In working with fiber, I am consciously engaging with what has been historically considered ‘women’s work’ and embracing it as an art form,” Warfield said. “I see this as a celebration of a medium that has fought for a place in the art world.”

Skaneateles resident Jessica Arb Danial sponsored the installation and provided the location for it. A gravel parking lot is available for visitors.

Danial, an art collector and advisor who is president of the Board of Trustees for the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, NY, was happy to provide a location for Warfield’s artwork. “Anna needed a stage, I had a field, so why not use open (unused) spaces and beautify them with public art while also using it to challenge the passerby with Anna’s thoughtful artwork?” Danial said.

She said this is the first time she has hosted a public art exhibit on her property, but it likely won’t be the last. “The arts force people to think differently,” Danial said. “Not everyone will come away with the same reaction to Anna’s work. I subscribe to the belief that the arts provide the foundation for lifelong learning, creativity and critical thinking.”

The Schweinfurth Art Center’s programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

If you go …
WHAT: “Sweeping Statement,” a public art installation
WHO: Artist Anna Warfield
WHERE: At Pork Street and East Lake Road in the town of Skaneateles
WHEN: Daytime hours from Oct. 17 through Nov. 28, 2020
COST: Free