Enter the lobby at Waterstone at Wellesley and you’ll be drawn towards four handmade silk tapestries by Tim Harding. The vibrant display of textures and color are one beautiful sampling of the widely varied collection of styles and mediums displayed throughout the property.
Choosing the art for a 207,742-square-foot luxury senior living community was an exciting proposition, says Waterstone art coordinator Mary Dawley, owner of Newton-based Chestnut Design. In fact, she said Ted Tye, managing partner with National Development, felt it could make or break the project.
“With a huge investment in architecture and furniture, the art had to be as good and it had to complement everything else. It really had to be up to par with the architecture and interiors.”
And she had to meet her budget.
Dawley teamed up with Anne Webb-Johnson, principal at Interior Design Consultants, to find art that complemented a color palette, details and furnishings influenced by the celebrated 20th century architect Frank Lloyd Wright and the Arts & Craft style.
Dawley said she also chose her selections knowing that the average Waterstone resident would be a sophisticated, well-travelled person, with knowledge of fine art. She says it meant choosing a wide range of artistic styles and mediums. “It couldn’t be all landscapes, or all Impressionists. It had to be a mix to make it interesting.”
One of the most unique, original pieces at Waterstone is a 6’ x 3’ collage by installation artist Nadya Volicer. The work incorporates 50 distinctive glazed orange bricks from the Grossman’s hardware store that previously stood at this location.
About 50 of the pieces are expert reproductions from early 20th century artists, including John Singer Sargent, Marsden Hartley, Edward Hopper and Maurice Prendergast, to name a few. Dawley says she selected pieces she thought would be known to and appreciated by residents. A digital technique known as Giclee makes it possible to print superior reproductions on canvas, at a reasonable cost, she explained.
Dawley also chose to honor local historical places and events with a special selection of black and white framed photos. And there is plenty of history to celebrate. Wellesely at Waterstone is built on the very spot where Alexander Graham Bell’s home once stood.
There are 240 pieces altogether. Dawley says she’s pleased with the final display. “It turned out beautifully, a good range of different types of art, colors, textures and frames. There is nothing cookie cutter about this art.”
Nadya Volicer, a sculptor and installation artist, has been selected to bring a piece of history to life in Waterstone Wellesley. Nadya has been commissioned to create an art installation that will feature the fiery orange bricks of Grossman’s Hardware, formerly situated on the Waterstone at Wellesley site. Ted Tye of National Development saved the glazed and distinctive bricks that locals remember well. For many in and around Wellesley, the Grossman’s name has special significance, as the organization was a New England success story during the 1900s, including this Wellesley location in the 1960s.
Nadya works with recycled or discarded materials. She says she loves the notion that the “discarded can be reused.” She has participated in exhibitions at the Barbara Krakow Gallery, at ArtWorks!, Partners for Arts & Community in New Bedford, and at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln. She has completed many commissions over the past few years including a permanent display for the Revolving Museum in Lowell. Many may be familiar with an installation in the Central Square Cambridge Life Alive organic café.
Nadya’s installation at Waterstone at Wellesley will be 6’ x 3’, featured prominently in the independent living community.
What materials are you working with?
Nadya: I have about 50 glazed bricks that were recovered from the Grossman’s site. I’ll also be incorporating scrap cherry wood trim being used at Waterstone at Wellesley to tie the old and new together.
Are you working on site at Waterstone?
Nadya: No, I’m working with the materials in my studio. Toward the end of March, I will work with the general contractor to transfer the art piece onsite for installation. I walked through the area where the installation will be housed along with the interior designer. I have worked up some sketches, as I want to ensure my work fits within the color scheme and space.
Can you tell us what you are doing?
Nadya: It will be a sculpture, but it could be considered a “relief” because one side is facing the wall. I just received the brick, so I am still working out the details. I believe I will play off the rectangular shape of the bricks as well as incorporate a curvilinear shape as well. It will be abstract, but have a sense of movement.
Did you have to get a sense of Grossman’s and site history before starting?
Nadya: Yes, actually. I grew up in the area and our family used to frequent a Grossman’s. I had not been to this store, but had visited another site often. This will not be a narrative piece about the history of the location, but instead I will focus on the materials and colors.
I am excited about working with the brick that came from the Grossman’s site because the reuse of materials is what I’m primarily interested in. I’ve worked with several venues, where I’ve asked them to collect the materials for me. I’d often arrive and get a giant pile of ‘stuff,’ and a piece would evolve out of the materials. I really like the idea of giving something a new life.
How will you get started?
Nadya: As I mentioned, I looked at the space to really feel it out. How will the piece be experienced? What are the surrounding materials, moods, movements? But ideas don’t really start to gel until I know about the materials. You could say it is a dialogue between what the materials want to do and what the space wants to become.
I realize this sounds rather esoteric, but I like working through materials and spaces. Ideas come from playing around with these two elements through writing and sketching. So I have the idea and then have to test that idea against the realities of the materials. Maybe something needs to change because the materials don’t perform the way I expected them to. At a certain point, though, I’ve set up the rules and then I’m off and running and the piece makes itself.