The Fantastic Four

Meet the Spring Intern Artists

This Spring we had a great crew of Intern Artists. They came from all across the country to join the Franconia family. When they weren’t providing visitors with amazing experiences on tours, or sweating in the heat to make the park beautiful, they were hard at work creating their marvelous sculptures. They made use of every tool, scrap material, and piece of equipment they could find. Throughout April, May and June we saw these budding sculptors work with just about every sculpture material imaginable: concrete, steel, wood, foam, fabric, thread, stuffing, wax, duct tape, cable, motor oil, grommets, yarn, rope, and much more. Scroll down to see what they have been up to. 

Chelsea Thew, Plattsburgh, NY; Kelly Cave, Princeton Junction, NJ; Monroe Isenberg, Portland, OR; and John McMenamin, Minneapolis, MN

Kelly “Americuh” Cave

I use tactility and decaying materials to showcase the life of the artwork. At the same time my obsession with collected miscellaneous things has led me to use objects/materials for their inner lives and their ability to trigger moments, relationships, and emotional narratives. I find that the physical and surface qualities of the materials themselves are the most powerful source of triggers. I create artwork that represents the wound that life leaves behind.

Kelly Cave, “Part II of My Reign: In Fiber We Trust”, 24’x16’x12’3″, 2015

My medium is Fiber and Metal. Fiber is family; it represents the majority of what women have contributed in regards to craft and it is how I remember the important women in my life. Metal is a strong, sturdy, and industrial material that becomes humbled once it begins to oxidize. I find similarities in methodology when creating a work out of metal or fiber and am able to communicate related concepts with both materials. It is because they are considered to be on opposite sides of a spectrum that they become strong when used together in a piece.

Monroe “Iceberg” Isenberg

Before, the lumber was a tree, the tree was processed into lumber, the lumber was used in buildings, the buildings lived, the buildings were torn down, the lumber was discarded or saved, the lumber was made into art, the art lived, the art was burned, the art died, the art becomes lumber again, the lumber degrades, its death leaves the soil nutrient rich, a sapling consumes the nutrients.

Monroe Isenberg, “Reclamation” 18’3″x32’6″x8’5″, Shou-Sugi-Ban Douglas Fir, steel, braided cable, used motor oil, 2015

The work Reclamation evokes death and rebirth. The tripod creates the tension linking these two realities. The action depicts a moment frozen in time; an everlasting struggle.

John “Wilderness Extraordinaire” McMenamin

John McMenamin, “Fallacy of Man” to be completed in 2015


Fallacy of Man is an exploration of masculinity and what it means to be a man in society. Western culture dictates that men must be tough, enjoy sports, and show no emotion. These stereotypes and cultural expectations promote a sense of hubris within men that can lead to sexism, objectification, and the eventual fall of man. I have constructed this big blue penis as if it were a monument built by a fictional hyper-masculine fraternity who believe in the sexist ways of the old patriarchy. However resolute, the patriarchy cannot sustain their philosophy in our slowly evolving society. The old patriarchy will die just like the penis will rust from a deluge of rain, wind, and snow brought from mother nature. Be a good man and do the right thing.

Chelsea “The W” Thew

Chelsea Thew, “Muscular Armature” 10’8″x5’6″x4’8″, Fabricated steel, concrete, 2015

There is something to behold with materials such as steel and concrete, especially when they are taken out of their industrial context.  My forms are fabricated to challenge mentally and physically the struggle of balance and support, and to question the interdependent relationship between materials. The grooves, the folds, the pockets of the concrete are to a degree, an unpredictable outcome that is permanently left on the sculpture.

We’re all looking forward to seeing what these sculptors will create next – keep on “makin’ art and breakin’ hearts!” Stay tuned or follow our blog so you don’t miss the post about our summer interns who have just started their Franconia adventure. 


One comment

  1. […] was never a dull moment with that crew. If you guys are reading this, thank you for making my last Spring session one of the best times I ever had at Franconia. You are all such wonderful and talented artists and […]

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