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These sculptures can sing

PETERBOROUGH: New exhibit at Mariposa fuses animals, musical instruments into something new

  • The Rich Entel's Cardboard Menagerie, a series of sculptures made using broken instruments and cardboard is on display at the Mariposa Museum in Peterborough. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Ashley Saari—Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  • The Rich Entel's Cardboard Menagerie, a series of sculptures made using broken instruments and cardboard is on display at the Mariposa Museum in Peterborough. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Ashley Saari—Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  • The Rich Entel's Cardboard Menagerie, a series of sculptures made using broken instruments and cardboard is on display at the Mariposa Museum in Peterborough. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Ashley Saari—Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  • The Rich Entel's Cardboard Menagerie, a series of sculptures made using broken instruments and cardboard is on display at the Mariposa Museum in Peterborough. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Ashley Saari—Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  • Rich Entel's Cardboard Menagerie, a series of sculptures made using broken instruments and cardboard is on display at the Mariposa Museum in Peterborough.

  • The Rich Entel's Cardboard Menagerie, a series of sculptures made using broken instruments and cardboard is on display at the Mariposa Museum in Peterborough. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Ashley Saari—Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  • The Rich Entel's Cardboard Menagerie, a series of sculptures made using broken instruments and cardboard is on display at the Mariposa Museum in Peterborough. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Ashley Saari—Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  • The Rich Entel's Cardboard Menagerie, a series of sculptures made using broken instruments and cardboard is on display at the Mariposa Museum in Peterborough. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Ashley Saari—Staff photo by Ashley Saari



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, March 30, 2016 7:0PM

A snarling warthog. A smiling alligator. A fierce lion. A serene giraffe. They’re all visible to the naked eye — but only until you switch your view.

Rich Entel’s Cardboard Menagerie series is one that must be looked at from all sides. His life-sized animal heads, made with a mix of cardboard, printmaking and broken musical instruments offer a different perspective depending upon whether you are looking from the right, the left, or straight on. Each side offers a different expression, and a different feel.

“This is more play for me, more so than many other paintings I’ve done,” said Entel in an interview at the Mariposa Museum in Peterborough, where his series is currently hosted. “I really started working with assymetry, and making each side different in it look and its emotion.”

Entel, of Portland, Maine, began working with cardboard, a material he’s been playing with off and on since the mid-1980s, when he was a medical student in New York City, observing the surge of homelessness coupled with the rise of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

"Many people were living on the streets, some in cardboard boxes," Entel says. "It was an intense period. Art offered a way of seeing what was around me. The part of me that was becoming a physician strove to learn how to help and change the situation. The artist part of me was learning to see people as they were and to feel and express the difficult emotions."

Still a physician, Entel has balanced his medical career with an artistic one, including completing a residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture soon after completing medical school and a fellowship at the MacDowell Art Colony in Peterborough in 1993.

In his art career, Entel began to experiment with musical instruments and their cases after a friend began a violin repair business and kept recieving broken violins and cases that were too far gone to repair cost-effectively. It started with painting violin cases, which Entel, whose work is heavily influenced by African art, saw as similar to shields.

When he began his Menagerie series, starting with a stag head, he began with cardboard, but soon saw that one of the antlers resembled a guitar head. Almost on a whim, he added some tuners to complete the look, and then some strings. When the piece still seemed incomplete, he added a violin bow striking the head like an arrow – becoming both a bow and arrow, he joked – creating the illusion that the bow was playing the strings.

“It changed the whole story completely,” said Entel. “It created a much larger metaphor. It creates kind of a mythical story.”

Each animal has different prints to make up their skin, made up of various sacred texts and images – from Hebrew letters, to phrases from a Tibetan prayer flag. 

After the first piece, Entel was off and running, creating not only eight more, but tying the entire exhibit together by creating a wax-figure child conductor that is set on a rotating violin case, brandishing a raised conductor’s wand, set center stage among the orchestra of animals, turning and conducting each one in turn. 

The exhibit is open now, but will have an official opening on April 2nd, coinciding with the Mariposa's annual Spring Party and fundraiser. This event, which starts at 6:30 will feature a talk by the artist, a reading by 11-time Coretta Scott King Award-winning children's book author and illustrator Ashley Bryan, music by the gypsy jazz band, Gypsy Nights, and food by C'est La Vie. Tickets for this event are $35 and RSVPs are highly recommended.

This exhibit is sponsored by  Joyce and Don Healy, Nancy Roberts, Judy and Jim Putnam, Bob and Dita Englund, Sarah Kendall, Eileen Sarson, Jack Daniels Motor Lodge and the Jubilee Fund.