"Confluence of Opposites:"

          A Perspective



My idea is to create soularchitectures that reflect/provoke an approach into an inner world.   Its transparency and openings allow light to be a significant part of their presence, making visible intermediate spaces.                                      

Caroline Ramersdorfer, 2007


Albert Camus, the French existentialist in his essays “The Myth of Sisyphus” used this myth to illustrate his notion that reaching one's final destination is not always the most important.   In fact if one “reconsiders Sisyphus” as Camus suggests, the struggle or journey reveals itself as ultimately the most meaningful - an idea that I and many others believe is central to the creative process.                                          

John Van Alstine, 2007


Making art is a journey for both Caroline Ramersdorfer and John Van Alstine.   Both work in stone:   Ramersdorfer in marble and Van Alstine in slate and granite.   Both come from mountainous places:   Ramersdorfer from the high Alps at the intersection of Austria , Germany , and Switzerland and Van Alstine from the Adirondacks of New York state.   Each artist is profoundly influenced by nature and environment and is driven to find meaning in the intersections of art, life, and nature.

The mountains of Van Alstine's native Adirondacks and the American West are an abiding source of inspiration for him.   His artistic sensibilities are informed by nature and the man-made dynamism reflected by industrial remnants.   Carefully selected found    pieces of slate or granite are combined by the artist with found pieces of processed iron and steel tools or industrial chards to form works of exquisite craftsmanship, technical perfection, and elegant design.   The formal beauty of the works challenges the viewer to look beyond to the inherent tensions suggested between nature and industrialization.   In the tradition of the late sculptor David Smith who also worked in the Adirondacks , Van Alstine artfully assembles objects from nature and man's work, releasing an expressive language to reinforce his theses of work and process and balance in life and nature.


Trained in Italy in an environment of generations of marble workers, sculptors, and masterpieces, Caroline Ramersdorfer's highly original works are a fascinating complement to the sculpture of John Van Alstine.   Rather than assembling elements with minimal manipulation, Ms. Ramersdorfer's works are major manipulations of blocks of marble.   She reduces marble to slices that she carves into solids and voids; ridged and columnar, fluid and sensual surfaces interact, revealing an almost microcosmic world within the stone.   The slices of stone, mounted in polished steel frames, interact with light to become ethereal systems of light and translucent stone.   Like veils, the pieces of stone reveal inner spaces that serve as metaphors for the meanings found in cerebral journeys of analysis and reflection.


The work of these two gifted sculptors affirms the tradition of sculpture as a medium based on formal principles and deeply held abstract ideas about life and nature (omit).


Caroline M. Welsh

Director, Adirondack Museum