The "And then, I ... " group at the Phillips County Library.

Barbara Satterfield’s interactive ceramic sculpture tour, “And then, I …,” grouped clay figures of women in conversation that she hopes will spark feedback on the project’s webpage on art and “pivotal moments” in women’s lives, has opened in Helena, the first stop on the tour. (Here’s a previous post on the project.)

Displays are at the Phillips County Library at 702 Porter St., the Helena Regional Medical Center at 1801 M.L. King Drive and the Delta Cultural center at 141 Cherry St. through Oct. 10 and a King Biscuit Blues Festival display on Oct. 11. 


Here’s what Satterfield writes about the impetus for the interactive exhibit:

The And then, I… project is new growth from a divergent root system of family, life experience, work experience, colleagues, friends, and heart-to-heart conversations with myself about what I’m driven to produce as an artist.

Having come to an art career in mid-life, I’m excited about exploring what I have to say through my work. And then, I… is the evidence of what has been constant in my life experience: contributing to, receiving from, standing with, standing apart, and seeking or sometimes avoiding, groups of women. This historic and dynamic pattern is on the one hand very personal and specific, and on the other hand corporate and universal. The pivotal moments of realization at points along the way in that pattern are my fascination.

All of us, of any gender or persuasion, have observed groups of women: from family get-togethers, to church committees, to volunteer projects, to work environments, to social situations. We are familiar with the conversations and stories that weave magic or mayhem, solace or strain, affirmation or rejection. We’re familiar with the pauses or silences that speak truer than words. Most of us can recall a family or friend storyteller, counselor, critic, instigator, partner-in-crime, or pacifist. All of us, of any gender or persuasion, have had similar conversations with the same range of results. I am compelled to explore the moments in those conversations at a pivotal moment, where the group dynamic reveals an opportunity for realization and growth.

And then, I… honors the communication among women because that process has been my equivalent of research: an idea or hypothesis is presented, reactions are tested, either a static situation continues or a pivotal moment occurs. Either way, knowledge results and a decision or new understanding can begin to take form. The act of communicating acculturates us and helps us navigate our life decisions. If we are fortunate, those on our research team are able and caring. I am not particularly good at it. Good conversations are unpredictable entities that require attention and energy to navigate and nurture. I’m fortunate to have friends who are uniquely adept: And then, I…Monuments to Pivotal Moments is dedicated to them with grateful appreciation.