Sculptures have always towered at the Ark Project in Bridgehampton, NY. They can rise majestic, presiding over sprawling fields and set to a backdrop of endless sky. All of the art on the 95-acre property is the work of Mihai Popa, known as Nova (1928-2009).

All of Nova's art was made to become part of a sculpture park with galleries for Nova's Integral Art--work that linked nature, architecture and philosophy together.

Nova's concerns about the human race were lofty. He made his sculpture large to match his aim and his message--humans should become more integrated with the planet and with the skies above. The universe was large and the role people played should recall the Divine and dignity of being human.

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"Milky Way" with "Soldiers" in the background. Both steel sculptures are by NOVA. Photo: Thierry Van Biesen.

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"Milky Way" (detail) by NOVA. Photo: Thierry Van Biesen.

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Nova perceived the Ark Project as "one integrated canvas for his art," said Wolf. Part of his vision includes the "Elliptical House" on Millstone Road. Nova designed the house to have a small footprint on the land while having amble space inside. Grazing animals and towering steel sculptures are other identifiers of Nova's Ark Project.

Nova's work was his way to demonstrate the "unity and diversity of elements in the cosmic forces such as waves, spheres, matrices, gravity and pulsations," according to an artist statement.

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"Multiverse" by NOVA. Photo: Thierry Van Biesen.

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This week, new sculptures will join the collection of over 40 works to welcome the Art Hamptons art fair. Before Nova died, he left maquettes and drawings for new sculptures, said Tundra Wolf, the executive director of Nova's Art Project and a long-time partner of Nova.

"Towers" is one of the new works to be unveiled. It is positioned to greet visitors as they walk toward the Art Hampton pavilion, said Wolf.

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"Towers" by NOVA. Steel, 31 x 3.5 x 3.5 feet. Photo: Thierry Van Biesen.

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Other new works include "Bolt," "Riverstones" and others. Six sculptures were also recently returned from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn where they had been on loan for several years, said Wolf.

The combination of the new and returned works will infuse new life into the sculpture fields. Some of the longer-standing sculptures have been shifted among the grounds to create new intimate areas to see the work. One of these new areas was created at the end of a grassy corridor that may beckon visitors beyond Art Hamptons, said Wolf.

Other sculpture installations are already designed to encourage interacting with the art. "Embrace of the Sun" is set in a field to the right while traveling through the Project's center courtyard.

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"Embrace of the Sun" by NOVA. Photo: Thierry Van Biesen.

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Nova's iconic "Astronauts" occupy the first open field after passing through the mini village of studio, work spaces and galleries. Nova created the monumental sculptures as a "Stonehedge of our times" to celebrate the persistent dream of reaching the stars and perhaps living there.

The seven sculptures are both tribal and Modern. Distinctively figurative, the works seem to be conferring in silent council. Each stands between 20 to 22 feet tall.

In addition to cultivated spaces for sprawling steel installations, there are artworks located throughout the majority of the open spaces. A polo field and horse barns share the grounds with the sculpture park.

Around three decades worth of work has been installed steadily at the Ark Project. Nova wanted the sculpture park to unfold organically and the current installations reflect his wish, said Wolf.

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"Wind" by NOVA. Photo: Thierry Van Biesen.

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Nova was born in Romania and grew up in the mountains of Transylvania. He lived and worked in Bucharest before traveling to Russia, Hungary, and Italy before moving to the United States in the 1960s. In 1973, he moved to Eastern Long Island to begin actualized his concept of Integral Art and a place where it could be fully experienced through the concentration of his artwork.

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"Settlers" by NOVA. From the Matrix Series. Steel, 12 x 24 x 12 feet. Photo: Thierry Van Biesen.

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Hosting the art fair is one of the rare occasions the Ark Project is open to the public. The Art Project will also host two fundraising events later this month. Plans may be in the works for Twilight Tours to be held later this year.

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"Soldiers" by NOVA. Steel, 16 x 30 x 16 feet. Seven pieces. Photo: Thierry Van Biesen.

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Wolf hopes that visitors to Nova' Ark Project will take some time to view the sculpture and experience the art and the nature surrounding it.

"Nova's work is about transformation and hope," she said. "He was passionate about the basic relationships from human to human and between human and the cosmos and to the time we live in. I hope people can spend time with the art, have a quiet moment and experience some of the art for themselves."

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"Red Check" by NOVA. Photo: Thierry Van Biesen.

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BASIC FACTS: Nova's Ark Project is located at 30-60 Millstone Road, Bridgehampton, NY 11932. Information on Nova, the Art Project and artwork images can be found at www.novasarkproject.com. The sculpture garden is open by appointment and for special events and Twilight Tours.

The Art Project will host Art Hamptons from July 13 to 15, 2012.

UPDATED: The Art Project will continue to host Art Hamptons for its July 2013 art fair.

RELATED: "In Pictures: Nova's Ark Project Unveils New Sculptures" by Pat Rogers. Published July 13, 2013.

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© 2012-2013 Pat Rogers and Hamptons Art Hub LLC. All rights reserved.

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