Anticipator

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June 8, 2013
(ongoing through 2014)

A noted sculptor in the field of public art, Matthew Geller designed a work for the Museum grounds that combines a recycled tree trunk with three “bionic” limbs fabricated from Corten steel.

These perforated branches emit colored light and mist through fan-like blossoms. The tree used for the installation, a Star Magnolia that died a year or more ago, has great significance since it is documented that Miss Florence had the tree planted during the 1920s. “It would have been hard to find a better tree than this,” stated Geller. “Anticipator continues the bond between this landscape and the creation of art begun by the artists of the Lyme Art Colony.”

Playful and unexpected, Anticipator offers elements of surprise that encourage visitors to interact with it and each other, fostering a sense of community as they stroll the grounds. Geller often incorporates mist into his works as a means of sparking conversation among viewers by subtly changing their surroundings. Here, positioned against the Lieutenant River, Anticipator transforms the environment, influencing how visitors perceive light and air—factors dear to the generations of artists who have painted this very same vista. In time, nature will also transform Anticipator, weathering it to a rich orangey brown color as the steel oxidizes.

The sculpture’s futuristic combination of natural and artificial forms plays off the historic site—the tree trunk has been salvaged from the grounds and the exotic blooms recall Miss Florence’s interest in non-native species, many of which she planted around her house. A new biomechanical hybrid that is part plant and part machine, Anticipator shapes its environment in an almost animate way, introducing the elements of mist and light and eliciting feedback in return.

This sensitivity to and interaction with its environment are key aspects of Anticipator, whose title even derives in part from the heat anticipators in thermostats that turn off the furnace just before the desired temperature is reached. A fusion of nature and technology, Anticipator strikes a balance between the two.