DinoArt exhibits meticulous sculpting skills

Geneseo’s Bertha V.B. Lederer Gallery opened the fascinating DinoArt exhibit on Oct. 28. DinoArt—created by Nelson Maniscalco—is a collection of small-scale sculptures of dinosaur skeletons. Maniscalco is a sculptor, metal artist and self-professed “amateur paleontologist.”  He is a professor at Cedar Crest College in Pennsylvania where he teaches sculpture and metals. Maniscalco is a dedicated artist, which is illustrated through the time and effort he has given to the DinoArt series—he has been working on it since 1995. His experience of going on archaeological digs and hunting for fossils has given Maniscalco a deep appreciation for what he calls “the structural beauty of the Earth’s earliest rulers.”

The sculptures are of dinosaurs interacting with one another and on their own—almost always appearing to be in motion. All of the dinosaurs are made of bronze; the sculptures having a delicate yet powerful sentiment attached to them.

One of the most striking things about the sculptures is their tremendous detail. According to Lederer Gallery director Cynthia Hawkins, Maniscalco sells his works at the Natural History Museum in New York City and they commission his dinosaur sculptures because of their astute accuracy. In order to sculpt such small works, Maniscalco uses jewelry techniques in addition to small sculpting techniques.

“Double Fighting Smildan Fatalis” is one particular work that showcases Maniscalco’s attention to motion and detail. It’s a sculpture of two dinosaurs of the same species who seem to be attacking each other. Their skeletal forms create a circle in mid-air, creating an abstract shape out of intensely specific forms.

“Pternodon ingens” is another one of his works, depicting two dinosaurs—again of the same species—perched on a tree branch. This piece especially stood out because of the dinosaurs’ long and elegant limbs. This piece accentuates the fragility of the extinct animals that are commonly thought to be powerful and strong.

The DinoArt series is on display in conjunction with GeoArt of the Mesozoic Era, an exhibit from the geology department. GeoArt showcases fossils, topographical maps and a slideshow of the geology department’s recent trip to Dinosaur Ridge in Colorado. The slideshow also contained explanations of the archaeological process. Some of the works in this exhibit date back to 5 million years ago, such as “Petrified Wood” which was found in Oregon.

Along with these two exhibits, the Lederer Gallery is offering three programs on the rise and fall of dinosaurs. These lectures are on three different sub-topics and are scheduled to take place in the gallery itself.

The first program is on Wednesday Nov. 11 and is entitled “Permian-Triassic Extinction: Setting the Stage for the Rise of the Dinosaurs.” This program will be led by structural geography assistant professor Scott Giorgis. “The Demise of the Dinosaurs,” directed by professor of geological sciences Jeffrey Over will take place on Nov. 19. Finally, “Beyond the Bones” will be conducted by assistant professor of biology Sara Burch on Dec. 2. Hawkins noted that she has high hopes for these informational programs, citing the gallery’s past successes with similar ones.

On display in the Lederer Gallery until Dec. 5, the DinoArt exhibit is an incredible experience that should not be missed.