Compared to Connemara, Mary Hatz and Roy Cirigliana's new sculpture ranch near Wolfe City is topographically intriguing. Works that die in Connemara's meadows and spare groves thrive in Wolfe City's lush, intimate grottos, dells, and ponds.
Comparisons are inevitable. Both properties are establishing reputations as extra-urban, fine art sculpture parks. Both have presented superb works by local and Texas artists. And both have been vandalized by anti-devil worshipers.
North of Plano on Central Expressway (US-75), Connemara is much closer, more established and accessible. They pay selected sculptors' expenses to place temporary pieces into their gently rolling hills and valleys.
Wolfe City opened last spring and offers a permanent, year-round venue for fixed, site-specific work and temporary display. Working with the Texas Sculpture Association (and others in the future), they offer only a place-75 miles east of Dallas-and encouragement.
A major tax write-off, Connemara has established a season of appropriate, large-scale entertainments, including dancers, orchestras and sax-ophones at dusk. It attracts large crowds of art lovers and picnickers. Wolfe City is smaller, quieter, more personal, less commercial. And a lot harder to find. Connemara has horses and an adjacent subdivision. Wolfe City has big, hungry ticks.
Both sites have endured an ongoing onslaught of vandalism amid rumors of anti-devil-worship. Wolfe City's marauders were more or less publicly egged on by a misguided local preacher who apparently found the art to be anti-Christian.
Buried below a copse of trees at Wolfe City, Chase Yarbrough's mixed media Resting Place tells silent stories in white-about death, change and the Vietnam war. Hidden under a tree, it escaped the night-riding art wreckers' attention.
Art Shirer's serenely simple eggs on poles in the picturesque (but snake-infested) pond also escaped attacks. Also in the pond were very realistic, swimming ducks.
Kathy O'Halloran's Would It Matter wasn't so lucky. The delicate, wood-frame elevated manger-like structure was totally destroyed by pseudo-religious art vandals. Also damaged was an all-white wood-grid sculpture, Susan Lecky's Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow-and So On..
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