Up Close

Stepping Up

Linda Carmel

Being a “featured artist” at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts gives us the opportunity to present a body of work to the public.  Alice, Lynn and my work all contain intricate details that we want viewers to explore, hence the title of our show, Up Close.  We also all use fabric in our art.   Alice creates the colors of the cloth she assembles in her work.  Lynn uses fabric and other materials to clothe her sculptures and in this series of paintings I have used lace as a stencil to add a depth to the surface of my paintings.  I encourage viewers to touch these multilayered paintings to add another dimension to the act of viewing.

At the Opening Reception the artists have the opportunity to talk about their work and I love hearing responses from viewers.   I learn a lot about how my ideas are perceived.  I am often surprised by the conversations that my paintings evoke.  My theme of women and the challenges we face at this time strikes a chord with many people.  I started this series at the beginning of the year, when many women were disappointed and feeling that their hard won freedoms were at risk.  The Women’s March brought us together to let our voices be heard.  Equality and respect are rights for everyone, regardless of gender, race or economic status.  This need for a community of equal partners is the theme of my paintings.

Family Ties

In this painting a young woman looks towards the future. The wind blows though her hair. Life seems full of possibilities and yet she is tied to her land, her culture and her family, as represented by the quilt. This was true for most women until very recently. Access to higher education is changing some women’s lives but women have yet to reach the equal status in the workplace that their education merits.

I hope that you will visit the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts and see the show.  The show will close on July 23rd.

 

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Up Close

Alice Levinson will be presenting her contemporary sewn textiles.  Levinson says, “There is an old saying, ‘the devil is in the detail’.  In the case of my artwork, detail is at the heart my work. Viewing from the usual gallery distance one sees a total composition. Hopefully the work is visually interesting and pleasing to the eye. The overall effect is important in my work. The compositional schema hints to narrative as the palatte suggests mood. The true hallmark of my work, however, is in the attention to detail. I encourage the viewer to approach and come UP CLOSE.”

Approaching Levinson’s work reveals the variety of materials she incorporates into complex compositions. With closer scrutiny one can appreciate the dense variety of stitching which embellishes and elaborates each work.

Of her process Levinson writes, “Starting with white cloth, I experiment freely with dye, pigments, and printing techniques to create cloth which is complex in texture and rich in visual interest. This cloth is the primary prompt to my work. It’s variations in tone, color, and texture inspire me, prompting a creative response.The fabric is cut or torn and pieces are mixed and melded as I assemble my work. Each composition is built of successive layering of fabric and thread. My intuitive work process encourages spontaneity and experimentation.  I live and work in a quiet wood. My work is infused with the lines of the trees, movement of wildlife, and the seasonal changes of form, color, and light.”

For Up Close painter Linda Carmel focuses on women and how they work together. Many of her images involve women helping each other. Carmel’s paintings of women are a perfect illustration of the campaign slogan, ‘stronger together’.

Carmel writes, “I hope that my images will remind us to treat ALL people equally regardless of gender or race. My work strives to speak directly to women, to acknowledge their inner strength and celebrate their power. These themes are especially significant in the present moment as women have been forced to re-engage in fights for rights that they thought were won long ago. Women are massing, marching, and protesting.”

Carmel builds up her canvases with acrylic modeling paste. She creates interesting background textures and then sculpts her figures. Carmel’s paintings are durable: she encourages people to touch them. Get up close and enjoy!

Sculptor Lynn Wartski writes,  “I see our title, Up Close as in invitation to our viewers to take a focused look at our new work.  ‘Athena Sharpening Her Spear’  was the first piece I specifically created for Up Close.  The seated goddess is clad in elements of knowledge, wisdom, and learning, as well as her gleaming armor. Athena is intently sharpening her spear as she prepares for an intense battle.”

Wartski reflects, “This entire year I’ve been experimenting with other surprises that allow some dolls to tell even more of their story.  While continuing to refine gesture and expression, I’ve also incorporated text and images into some surfaces creating collage elements within the sculpture.  In this way an Alice in Wonderland doll became a piece about questions and questioning, and a butterfly figure emerging from its chrysalis about giving flight to dreams and imagination. The scale of my art doll sculptures bids one to take a more intimate look. I try to reward this level of scrutiny with the details that I work into each figure.  I admit that I love creating little elements for each doll, especially the shoes.”

Opening Reception

6-9

June 30


 

The Art of Giving

holiday-rgbEach holiday season the members of the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts transform the gallery to showcase original ornaments and hand-made gifts. The gallery’s 21 members work in a variety of media, providing a wide array of art and fine craft for holiday shoppers.

The glass art includes hand-blown vessels, ornaments, solar lights, paperweights, and jewelry. Fiber art on display includes framed collage quilts and hand dyed stitched cloth, knitted scarves; and fabric handbags. The jewelry in the show covers a variety of styles and techniques, from copper and bronze to sterling and fine silver necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings, some with gold accents and stones.  Visitors will also find metal sculpture, pottery, turned wood, enamels, and carved ironwood with turquoise and silver inlay. Fine art photography, oil and acrylic painting, encaustics, scratchboard, and mixed media work festively surround the three dimensional pieces on pedestals.

Explore the wonderful art exhibited at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts to find a special gift for that special person.

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Go Figure

Domain” is part of a series of paintings using hooped skirts as a metaphor for the constrictions society places on women. In this piece, I wanted to depict a woman’s life as defined by her home, which becomes the empire over which she has control.

Before starting, I decided to use the old masters’ palette of colors – Yellow Ochre, Payne’s Grey, and Burnt Umber – to which I added Mars Black and Titanium White.

I covered the entire canvas in a thin layer of modeling paste and then fashioned the skirt and figure with another layer. I built up the background with more modeling paste. Next, I drew the scene that I imagined going on under the skirt with pencil and began painting. I painted the surfaces where I applied the second layer of texture brown and then wiped away the excess, exposing the “thumbprint” of the painting.

in-progress-1

I moved through the rooms from left to right, using masking tape to help me keep the architectural lines straight. In the ballroom, I decided to apply modeling paste to the pillars and the drapes to give them more dimension. Later I added texure to the chandelier too.

 

in-progress-2

After I completed the scene under the skirt I began on the figure. I wanted her dress to have the look of polished stone, as if the woman has become a part of her home.

I played with different colors for the background, finally settling on shades of Sienna that I highlighted with Ochre and Gold to mimic the sky that you can see through the windows. I then echoed the texture and pattern of the background in the walls of the ballroom.

in-progress-3

I tried several different versions of the headdress and finally chose to add some hair to frame her face and a pendant to connect the hues of the background with those below the skirt.

Domain” was complete.

domain-4

With thanks to my husband, Harold Carmel for documenting this process.

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Go Figure

linda and Marcy and Lynn

Linda Carmel is a painter who creates richly textured canvases that focus on the experience of women today. She writes, “The paintings in Go Figure! explore the transition from girlhood to womanhood where outer appearance becomes circumscribed and the carefree girl is hidden.”

In this series she has used the hooped skirt as a metaphor for how women worked within these confines to find autonomy.  She explains, “When girls enter womanhood, both historically and culturally, there are often confining restrictions of dress and behavior that apply.  In times and places where women were unable to voice their opinions, they embroidered their thoughts onto household fabrics and clothing. I have incorporated these unspoken words into many of my new paintings.”

Carmel adds, “Women’s fashion has come a long way from the era of the hoop skirt, but women are still forced to dress the part and hide elements of themselves in order to shatter the remains of the glass ceiling.”

 

Lynn Wartski’s imaginative sculptures portray the human body as art dolls.  Wartski states, “This medium allows me to explore and play with a wide variety of materials and techniques yet still maintain visual cohesion. Inspiration for these small scale figures comes from places both common and unexpected. I delve into the worlds of art, literature, mythology, legend, everyday life.” Lynn uses a variety of materials in her mixed media dolls, but it is her use of metal that links these dolls to her earlier work.

Wartski adds, “For Go Figure!, I have continued to concentrate on gesture and expression.  Though there is no one theme that unifies all my sculptures, there is the intent for each to represent a moment within some narrative. My hope is that the viewer will be drawn into the small details of each doll and hopefully enter into the story she may have to tell.”

 

Marcy Lansman writes of her new work for Go Figure!: “Many of these paintings express my nostalgia for a kind of childhood play that seems rare today, nostalgia for a time when children ran around outdoors uncoached and unscheduled.  I’m intrigued by the excitement and collaboration that emerges from that kind of spontaneity. Several paintings are based on fifty-year old photos of my sons.  I’ve solicited candid photos from friends and family, but often what I get back are smiling faces looking straight into the camera.  So for new subject matter, I’ve taken to photographing children in local public playgrounds.”

Opening Reception

Friday, September 30

6-9

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