June 3, 2010

Cover Story: Animal Dreams

Sculptor Wendy Klemperer and curator June LaCombe have created an exotic menagerie among the trees and fields of Maine Audubon's Gilsland Farm.

By Bob Keyes bkeyes@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

FALMOUTH - The mountain lion lurks among the broken tree branches, ready to pounce.

click image to enlarge

click image to enlarge

Sculptures by artist Wendy Klemperer roam Maine Audubon at Gilsland Farm in Falmouth. There are 22 sculptures placed along the trails, including elk, caribou, wolves and porcupine.

Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below


WHAT: "Re-Imagined" by Wendy Klemperer

WHERE: Gilsland Farm, Maine Audubon Society, 20 Gilsland Farm Road, Falmouth


WHEN: Opening reception from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday; installation will remain on view for one year

HOURS: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday; noon to 4 p.m. Sunday

INFORMATION: 781-2330 or www.maineaudubon.org

ALSO: Sculptures by Lise Becu and Ray Carbone will be on view from Saturday through July 25 at the Audubon visitor center at Gilsland Farm.

The fierce wolf stands at rigid sentinel at the top of the grassy clearing.

The elk, his massive rack blending in with the thick forest, lords over all like an almighty king.

The storyland scene is the creation of sculptor Wendy Klemperer and contemporary art curator June LaCombe. They have filled the rolling, tree-choked campus of Maine Audubon at Gilsland Farm with larger-than-life portrayals of animals common to Maine and those that used to rule the landscape but have been driven away.

In addition to the extirpated cats, wolves and elk, the sculptural installation also includes portrayals of animals we see every day: deer, fox and porcupines.

Klemperer creates her animals from salvaged industrial material. Essentially, her pieces are gestural sketches in steel. She welds reinforcement rods, spikes, nails and other material together to create mythical renderings of nature's most graceful inhabitants.

Her pieces are lifelike in their shape and form, although she tends to exaggerate their scale.

Despite their size, they blend in naturally with the landscape.

"I'm mostly interested in the lines of the animals," said Klemperer. "I'm not interested in finding new uses for found objects. I really don't care if you recognize the salvaged material. I want you to see and appreciate the animal."

Klemperer's installation of 23 animals will remain in the landscape at Maine Audubon for the next year. The exhibition formally opens on Saturday, although anyone visiting Gilsland Farm can see Klemperer's work right now.

Many of these pieces have been on view at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay.

Right now, the mostly dark sculptures hide themselves against the natural and lush backdrop of green and brown of Gilsland Farm. LaCombe has placed the pieces in a relaxed environment.

They are intentionally subtle -- chatty folks might miss some of the pieces altogether if they walk the trails without paying attention.

The animals will look different in the changing colors of fall and the stark setting of winter. Klemperer, who lives in New Hampshire and New York, is eager to get back to Falmouth when the snow flies to view her work in the natural setting of winter. She never had the opportunity to see her animals among snow at Boothbay this past winter.

"The change of season will have an impact on how people will see them," she said.

Klemperer calls her exhibition "Re-Imagined" because her pieces suggest a time when the elk and other wild giants wandered across North America.

LaCombe hopes the sculptures provide an invitation for people to visit Maine Audubon time and again.

"These pieces enliven the landscape. People who have come here again and again will see this place in a new way," she said.

The Klemperer installation is one of two sculpture shows at Gilsland and one of three shows that LaCombe is organizing this spring and summer. Also on view at Gilsland, both indoors and outdoors, are sculptures by Lise Becu and Ray Carbone.

At her Hawk Ridge Farm in Pownal, LaCombe will host her annual installation of work by New England artists. All three shows open Saturday. 

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:


Addendum: This article was corrected at 1:28 p.m. June 3, 2010, to fix the spelling of sculptor Wendy Klemperer's name.


Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors

Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

click image to enlarge


Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)


More PPH Blogs

Get the GO RSS!