Wednesday, March 27, 2013

2013.03.27 Who Said Animals Don't Get Ressurected?

Imagine having a huge horse (10 feet tall, 1000-1200 pounds,) a lion 7 feet tall, and a giant brown bear, 8 feet tall, living in your barn, which is attached to your house? 

This would be worse than being Noah and his wife, whose name was Elizabeth (I made that up, sick as I am of biblical female anonymity) on an ark. Imagine the demanding task of having to keep track of the feeding schedules of hundreds of creature couples, plus clean up their daily excrement—probably a lot, since being crammed into an ark for 40 days and nights with no sign of land would make even the fiercest of beasts nervously excremental. (The first thing Noah did, btw, when he got off that ark and onto dry land was get drunk—of course!)

But the large animals living in Arron Sturgis’s barn don’t make any noise, eat nothing, and don’t shit.  They are wooden sculptures by the late Maine artist Bernard Langlais. The animals, signature Langlais art, have lived outside in the garden at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art for over 30 years. The wood has suffered from rot. Now, thanks to grants and gifts, these animal works of art are going to get a resurrection. And they’re not even dead yet! 

Sturgis owns Preservation Timber Framing, Inc. in Berwick Maine. He’s a timber framing expert, sensitive to the needs of all kinds of wood that has gotten old and needs restoration.  Usually his work involves old New England buildings, church steeples, and even design and framing work on the new American wing of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. And now beasts of wood.

“The challenge is doing this work without changing the artifact so it’s no longer a Langlais,” Sturgis said.  “But they’re all salvageable, and they all will be Langlais when we’re done with them.” He wants to capture the same spirit and vigor he imagines Langlais invested in his originals.  Now that’s humble integrity!

“This guy wasted no time on these,” said Sturgis. “They are not pieces of finely crafted furniture. He was really moving.”  Sturgis, 52, is the same age as Langlois was in the prime of his creative years. As I know Arron Sturgis, he will move efficiently and with all of his own vim on these resurrections, which will be as valuable as the originals.

So you see there are artists behind the artists, behind the artists, all with the same goals as the divine artist, whom some of us call God-Creator/Godde-Resurrector.

A whimsical anecdote from Sturgis: One day he was transporting the bear, who sat nobly in the back of his truck as they drove through Ogunquit.  He stopped ( no light, just courtesy) to allow a pedestrian to cross. The woman began to cross, with her head lowered, absorbed in her electronic device, when Sturgis yelled out his window, “Hey watch out for the bear!”  The woman looked up, gave the bear a glance, then went right back to the non-ursine essentials of her life. 

The bear (see below) was nonplussed as well. He knew he would soon receive the gift of new life.