The Barnum Museum is featuring an amazingly original display, Lost and Found Circus: A Creative Balancing Act by Bridgeport artist Susan Tabachnick through August 30.
The exhibition features a circus-themed presentation of small sculptures created with found objects, many of them incorporating old industrial parts and small tools. The components are not altered in any way, but are assembled into whimsical sculptures suggestive of the lively energy and humor that characterizes the circus. The assemblages give “new life” to items originally made for other purposes. Tabachnick never forces the unions and she doesn’t weld or glue the pieces together; they must fit or balance.
Each of Tabachnick’s creations in this exhibition begins with a particular piece of salvaged material to which she is attracted. The sculptures often evolve as a balancing act, as Tabachnick experiments with finding just the right parts, using her own fluid and flexible approach to making art. All of the work in the show is assembled this way; none of the components are permanently affixed. Like a real circus, the components can readily be disassembled and transported to a new venue, and if the artist chooses, the found objects can come together in new ways.
“The Lost and Found Circus is always a work in progress,” explained Tabachnick, “an infinitely creative and organic assemblage of salvaged pieces that invites people to see new possibilities. What is most enjoyable to me are the reactions to my work, and the different references and perceptions that viewers bring to it. I never intended to make a circus. The pieces came together serendipitously, each with its own eccentric personality, not dissimilar to that of traditional circus characters. Over the years, the theme kept percolating to the point where there is now a troupe.”
The Barnum Museum is located on 820 Main Street, Bridgeport in the People’s United Bank Gallery. The entrance to the museum is located at the back of the historic building and the hours are Thursday, Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information on the PT Barnum Museum, call 203-331-1104 ext.100, M-F from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or visit www.barnummuseumexhibitions.org.