During a trip earlier this summer to the Adirondacks to visit John VanAlstine, I had the surprise pleasure of meeting Caroline Ramersdorfer. Caroline’s studio is on the site of the former Adirondack Lumber Company (Veneering Plant), where she has a large open air space. She was most gracious in showing me her past projects and those currently underway.
Born in Austria, Caroline has spent time in the United States since 1982 when she first came to the United States as a student, traveling coast to coast for two months. In 1993, she returned on a grant to New York City. Nine years later, Caroline was invited to the International Sculpture Symposium and was one of eight international artists invited to the International Stone Sculpting Exposition that took place in Delco Park, Kettering, Ohio. Since that time, she has frequently worked in the United States.
Upon meeting Caroline and viewing her work together, I was immediately struck by the delicate and fragile nature of her sculpture, despite their grand size and the mass of the material she employs. In her Inner Views series Caroline uses white Vermont Marble. The marble is cut into slabs of stone that are carved by hand. Caroline shapes thin columns and spindles from these slabs. They are then arranged intimately on a pedestal, as seen in Interview Nexus, 2001, below.
When the individual slabs of stone are placed close to one another, the skillfully carved and hewn spindles create a web that draws your eye to the center and the inner network of lines. The edges of the slabs are arranged in such a way that it seems that without the spindles holding the edges, the piece might implode. The delicate carving, and the purity and clean look of the marble add a feminine quality to Caroline’s work.
Particularly large scale sculptures from this series are on exhibit as public art in the United Arab Emirates, China and Taiwan. These striking sculptures create an exquisite view in three dimensions, changing with each step and vantage point.
One piece I really enjoyed, displayed outdoors on the side of Caroline’s studio space, is Trilogy, 2008-2012.
This work, though similar to the sculptures pictured above, consists of three planes that hang from a structure instead of being displayed on a stand.
In Trilogy there is a larger space between each element, forming very different views from the other sculptures shown. When looking at this sculpture, it appears as if the stone is starting to shatter before your eyes due to its own weight. Caroline’s unique way of carving creates this type of illusion. At the same time, as noted earlier, the structure appears held together by the central spindles. Caroline also said that this method of display (hanging the slabs) allows each element to sway slightly in the breeze, adding another facet to the piece.
The works of John and Caroline set across the landscape at Wells, New York clearly show the distinct character of their art; masculine vs. feminine, substantial vs. delicate, naturally found stone vs. carved stone. Set spectacularly along the Sacandaga River, the combination of sculptures and nature becomes a place that is meditative; a place to contemplate the art and its setting, and to create.
Photographs by John Van Alstine and Caroline Ramersdorfer. All photos courtesy the artist.