Easthampton’s Promenade Park located in the Cottage Street Cultural District receives its first piece of public art. Artists Carand Burnet and Lyell Castonguay in coordination with Easthampton City Arts+ relocated their work "Heartwood" onto the pump house located adjacent to the Nashawannuck Pond.
"Heartwood" is an example of hand carved relief. The subject matter – a depiction of a tree's growth rings – is inspired by the way nature slowly reclaimed the original mural site. “Heartwood” recognizes the late Bryan Nash Gill whose prints and sculptures of tree imagery, a Connecticut-based artist who created large-scale relief prints from cross sections of trees.
Created in 2013, the mural was initially placed on a vacant building on Easthampton’s Union Street. The artists sought a more permanent placement for the mural and contacted Easthampton City Arts+ about placing it on the small structure on the promenade.
The artists Castonguay and Burnet have a history creating large scale wood block prints. Their project, BIG INK brings together artists, community organizations, and the public to produce large scale black and white woodcuts for exhibition and educational purposes. BIG INK was spurred by Castonguay and Burnet meeting fellow artists who were interested in the large-scale woodblock printing process. Participants in BIG INK meet with Burnet and Castonguay in the nearest printshop and learn about the materials and techniques. The class then makes a wood block and collaboratively prints each other’s woodblocks. In June of 2016, BIG INK will host a two one-day large woodcut printing sessions at Whiteaker Printmakers in Eugene Oregon.
Castonguay and Burnet also work independently making their own work: Lyell Castonguay is a printmaker creating narrative woodcuts that incorporate transparent colors and complex, hand carved patterning. Castonguay’s current body of work depicts the familiar imagery of birds in portraiture and masses, but they are distorted into allegorical beasts. Forthcoming exhibits include Dedee Shattuck Gallery, Westport, MA; and Castle Agliè, Turin, Italy. Past exhibits include the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea; Fine Art Works Center, Provincetown, MA; Western New England University, Springfield, MA; Bromfield Gallery, Boston, MA; and the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA.
Carand Burnet is a poet and essayist. Her work has been featured in Crazyhorse and Gulf Coast. She is author of the chapbook Henhouse (Projective Industries Press) and co-author of The Principles of Fraying (Factory Hollow Press). She is a contributor to Art New England Magazine. Her writing has been listed as a notable in The Best American Essays.