Dolly Parton, 2022
Bernard Pras 

Dolly Parton is proof that big things can come from small places. Born in a one-room cabin on the banks of the Little Pigeon River in Tennessee, Dolly sang in church from the age of six and learned to play a homemade guitar. After gracing local radio shows with her dulcet tones, Dolly eventually moved to Nashville at eighteen to begin her career as a songwriter.  

She released her first studio album, Hello I’m Dolly, a few years later in 1967. Her first solo hit, a cover of Jimmie Rodgers’ “Mule Skinner Blues,” was released in 1970. However, she cemented her status as a legendary country artist with her 1973 hit “Jolene,” and continued to top charts through the ‘70s’ and ‘80s with songs like “I Will Always Love You,” “9 to 5,” and “Islands in the Stream.” Parton played Merriweather Post Pavilion twice: first in 1979 as part of her Great Balls of Fire Tour, and later in 1989 in support of her twenty-ninth album, White Limozeen.

Parton has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, and is tied with Reba McEntire for the most chart-topping hits as a female artist. She’s universally loved for her talent, philanthropy, and kindness, which has been beautifully captured in this metalwork sculpture by Bernard Pras.

MEET THE ARTIST:

Here at Merriweather, we love art and all things eco-friendly, so we jumped at the opportunity to feature the work of Bernard Pras at the Pavilion. An anamorphic sculptor whose work is made entirely out of found objects and recycled items, Pras proves that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

For these sculptures of Robert Plant, Miles Davis, and Dolly Parton, Pras gathered materials from Howard County Alfa Ridge landfill and local thrift stores, and included elements donated by Columbia’s music schools. Merriweather’s longstanding focus on sustainability meshes beautifully with Pras’ art in these displays.

At the sculpture reveal in 2022, Consul General of France, François Penguilly said, “Each detail of Bernard Pras’s works is an invitation to a poetic exploration where one wonders about the history of the object and its possible connections with the work represented. One could spend hours gazing at each portrait, identifying all the little bits and pieces that make up a portrait subject’s facial features, hair, body, and clothing.”

Born in 1952 in Roumazières, France, Pras trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Toulouse where he became inspired by Salvador Dali, Edvard Munch, Hiroshige, and Giuseppe Arcimboldo. A painter, sculptor, and photographer, Pras lives and works in Montreuil, near Paris.

Click here to be amazed.