The 2003 Winter Gallery exhibition of the Southold Historical Society was entitled "Rooted in the Soil: Southold's Agrarian Heritage." My wife Louise is on the exhibition committee and this show was largely our brainchild in conception and installation. It was an invitational opportunity for local artists to offer images of the local heritage and landscape in a local venue. I designed panels hung from chain to increase surface area of the room and I executed a carved mahogany frame done for a painting of a Long Island vineyard by my colleague in construction, Joan Chambers.
We were asked to submit a brief biographical statement, which I repeat here:
"Bennett Sykes Blackburn's life work is the realization of three-dimensional form. This has been a dialogue between the practical and the visionary. His Honors thesis at Wesleyan University explored both abstract woodcarving and furniture design. In the 25 years since moving to Long Island's North Fork, the practical side has morphed from commissioned furniture to the restoration and renovation of woodwork in historic houses. This has been both a livelihood and the means to a home, the circa 1815 Overton-Fitz house in Peconic.
Significant sculptural accomplishiments include a suite of four lifesized walnut figures at Duck Walk Winery; "The People of Fire," a suite of three bronzes depicting the stages of healing from childhood sexual abuse; the "Angel Series," complex abstract walnut carvings; the "Tourist Trap," for "Footfalls" in Greenport; Sykesgallery, North Adams, Massachusetts, a two year changing storefront installation; and learning to pay attention when the sculpture gods call.
Recent work has explored compression and tension compositions using fitted stone, steel rod and chain.
Wednesday evenings his studio hosts a meeting of the Peconic Wood Sculptors, whose work was the subject of the Southold Historical Society's 2001 exhibit, "Out of the Wood." More work can be seen at www.sykesgallery.com and in private collections across the USA."