Ailene Fields & Neil Zukerman
Stone is Ailene’s creative medium of choice. For her, carving is not a process of extractive force, it is a release, a birthing of the figure within. Her sculpture involves a spiritual connection of creative energy flowing through her and the stones she works with, an unspoken conversation between the material and spiritual world.
Ailene’s work also reflects the mutability of our very existence from one day to the next.
In an ever-changing and sometimes frightening world, she manifests the peace, safety and hope that we all desire into works that will weather the test of time,
My Sacred Spaces became Sanctuaries — places for quiet meditation, for different psyches, different moods, different souls. Finding these Sanctuaries, each different from the others, and liberating them from their native stones so that others may experience them has become my challenge. We have always needed sanctuary. We still do.
Every artist has a unique story and follows a personal journey through various aspects of life, and Ailene is no different. Her mission is aptly captured in her own words,
I am a sculptor. I express myself through my sculptures. They say things that my words cannot. But I will try words. Carving stone is different from most other forms of sculpture. It is a process of finding what has been trapped within since time immemorial and allowing it to reveal itself to the world. For much of my career, what I liberated were animal and human figures caught in particular moments of reflection that revealed some essential aspect of their being.
Neil Zukerman was passionate about art and introducing it to new audiences. In addition to owning the CFM Gallery in New York City, he participated in a number of collaborative projects that connected him with artists from all over the world. Neil believed that art was only enjoyable if it challenged people and that it can come from anywhere. Skylands Museum reflects his adoration for art and its versatility,
For obvious reasons the academics like to put everything into categories. It is easier to study assigned groupings then to recognize and address differences. Fortunately, however, artists come in all shapes and sizes as well as engender art in all shapes and sizes. They, by definition, can't be categorized. Maybe we do have the ability to judge for ourselves.
Every project that Ailene and Neil have committed to, including the Skylands Museum of Art, has a personal, spiritual, and communal value that is meant to connect us further to the best parts of ourselves. To reconnect with nature, our inner dreamer, and kindness towards ourselves and others. We all sometimes struggle in the day to day, and their hope is that the museum will you give you a moment to breathe and enjoy the beautiful gift of our lives.