All The Better To See You With, a collection of antique spectacles photographed by Eric Nelson, on display at the Sheldon Museum
MIDDLEBURY — Eric Nelson, Middlebury College Professor Emeritus of Studio Art, known regionally for his contemporary sculpture, demonstrates his ability as a photographer in the current exhibit Focus on the Sheldon: A Five-Point Perspective, currently on view at the Henry Sheldon Museum in Middlebury, Vermont through May 13, 2017.
One of five photographers invited to tour the many historic rooms of the Sheldon Museum, founded in 1882, as well as the chockablock storage areas located in the basement, attic, and historic barn, Nelson found pay dirt amidst the miniature toy collection and in Henry Sheldon’s stockpile of antique eyewear and folk art sculptures.
His artistic decisions emanated from childhood experiences. “Some of my earliest memories are playing with toys, figures and decorative objects. The materials, texture, color and method of manufacture of these objects interested me. Most of them held a sense of intimacy and imaginative power that was transformative. Also, the accessibility and tactility of these objects gave me great satisfaction and lasting pleasure.”
Nelson selected 75 “toys, figures, and decorative” objects to photograph, including Henry Sheldon’s walking cane collection, spectacles from Sheldon’s antique eyewear collection and lead toy figurines that depict a battle. He took them from the archival boxes and drawers where they were stored to the library of the Museum’s Research Center where he set up a temporary studio with his camera mounted on a tripod, portable studio lighting kit, and backdrop. Nelson experimented with diverse groups of the cherished objects, resulting in five photographs.
The Henry Sheldon Museum offers a diverse, in-depth look at the history and art of the Mid-Lake Champlain region of Vermont. The Museum is located at One Park Street in downtown Middlebury across from the Ilsley Library. Museum hours: Tues.-Sat. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Research Center hours: Thurs. and Fri. 1-5 p.m. or by appointment. Admission to the Museum is $5 Adults; $3 Youth (6-18); $4.50 Seniors; $12 Family; $5 Research Center. For more information call 802/388-2117 or visit our website: www.HenrySheldonMuseum.org.