The Hippo


Jul 23, 2019








Left: “We Two Together” by Michael Alfano. Right: “Gryphon” by Jeffrey Briggs. Kelly Sennott photos.

20th Annual Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit

Where: Mill Brook Gallery & Sculpture Garden, 236 Hopkinton Road, Concord
When: On view May 26 through Oct. 15; opening reception Sunday, May 28, from 2 to 4 p.m.; hours are Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by appointment
Contact: 226-2046,

Two decades of sculpture
Mill Brook Gallery celebrates 20th Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit

By Kelly Sennott

 The Mill Brook Gallery & Sculpture Garden is not your everyday gallery.

It sits alongside a rural road, at the end of a long, dirt driveway decorated with trees, flowers, wooden fences and sculptures. The building itself holds smaller pieces — paintings, prints, photographs, jewelry — and behind it, nestled next to a small pond and pasture of grazing horses, stand more than 20 outdoor-friendly pieces courtesy of New England artists. 
They’re all part of the gallery’s 20th Annual Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit, on view May 26 through Oct. 15, with an opening reception Sunday, May 28, from 2 to 4 p.m.
Before owner Pam Tarbell started the gallery in 1996, her property housed after-school art programs, teaching kids the media they might not learn in school due to time or budget constraints. But while she taught these classes, she realized there were other gaps in their art education.
“I realized I didn’t see a lot of art history in their art classes,” Tarbell said during an interview at the gallery, a week before the show’s start. “Maybe some had gone to the Currier. Maybe one had been to Boston. … But mostly, people do not take their kids to see art.”
So Tarbell took action and went to the zoning board three times before obtaining permission to start the gallery on her property. It was important to her she open the space up not only to local painters and printmakers but also to sculptors, who at the time didn’t have a lot of avenues to sell work.
“Twenty years ago, it was like sculptors were dying to get their pieces out and exposed because there were no places to exhibit,” Tarbell said.
Since then, things have changed. The medium has found its way into “sculpture walks” in universities and downtowns. Sometimes it’s actually hard to get ahold of enough pieces for a show.
“There’s a lot more competition for sculpture now,” Tarbell said. “All of a sudden, everybody decided it was cool, and there were lots of calls for sculptures.”
Even so, Tarbell, an artist herself, was able to collect many new pieces to become part of the landscape of her grounds, from the tiny painted metal “Cardinal” by Dale Rogers to the slim, elegant “Flute Player” looking over the water by David Borrus. 
Two of the pieces are by Hopkinton, Mass., artist Michael Alfano: “We Two Together,” a bronze resin piece depicting two people holding hands and creating a third, larger face, and “Evolution,” made from stainless steel and granite. 
“The thing I really love about sculpture is it’s really hands-on, both in the making and the enjoyment of it. Children and adults can walk around the sculpture, and feel it, and touch it,” Alfano said. “Pam provides a wonderful venue, both for the community to come in and see cutting-edge art, and for artists to be able to show their larger pieces that may not fit in indoor galleries, and pieces that are a little more thought-provoking.”
Husband-wife team Lindley and Jeffrey Briggs each have a sculpture at the gallery — his “Gryphon,” inspired by the statue overlooking the Philadelphia Museum of Art, is made of fiberglass resin, and so is her “Sanctuary,” depicting a hand holding a tiny figure.
“I love hands. To me, they symbolize nurturing,” Lindley Briggs said via phone.“I’ve been an artist for many, many years. … I’m always fascinated by looking at people’s hands. I think there’s symbolism in what they evoke.”
The Newburyport, Mass., couple have been professional artists for decades. Past clients include Disney, Eddie Bauer, L.L. Bean and Timberland. Recently, Jeffrey Briggs was commissioned to create the Greenway Carousel for the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston. Their work has seen many outdoor exhibits, most commissioned by schools or organizations, but few galleries.
“[Tarbell] is one of the few gallery owners with such a huge sculpture show in New England. In your traditional gallery, sculpture is minimized because sales for paintings are so much better. People can always buy paintings and put them on the wall, but sculpture is a lot more difficult to sell,” Lindley Briggs said. 

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