Serious Fun

 

Ali Givens

For Serious Fun I’ve worked on refining several fabric collages that I began years ago. For some pieces, such as “Orange Peacock” I removed the strongest element, the peacock, from the original quilt and built an entirely new composition. In the new collage a cityscape becomes the backdrop as the the peacock stands in front searching among the rocks.  In another work, “Long Afternoon” I simplified the colors to create a completely new feeling. The original background was bright orange, but by replacing it with a more muted gray I was able to make all of the other colors come alive. I think sometimes you have to look at something a long time to figure it out–it’s like a puzzle. Fabric is wonderfully forgiving which makes it very fun as a medium–the more I work with it, the more I’ve learned to relax during the process. For this show I’ve also revisited my favorite theme: the still life.

Especially fun and challenging for me was incorporating my own interpretations of my fellow artists’ paintings and pottery as elements in my own collages. I have a beautiful vase by Garry Childs in my living room. It sits in the corner full of curly willow branches next to a very old stained glass window. Each morning when I sit on the sofa drinking my coffee, I stare at that corner–it became a still life in my mind. I first made a drawing of these elements, the vase, the window, the brick wall and the table. I then made a small collage with fabric to work out the details. Then, from that small collage, I was able to blow it up to a much larger size. This process works well for me. I love images that are small and intimate, and also images that are very large and bold. “Ode to Garry’s Vase” was challenging collage, but one that I truly enjoyed because of personal connection (Garry is also an artist at HGA). Being inspired by my friends is always fun, serious fun.

 

 

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Serious Fun

 

 

Nell Chandler

For our show Serious Fun I found myself in a few different modes. First I wanted to reach back to my earlier mostly narrative line but add a more light a airy feel to it. I worked with copper and my etched brass but added a hinged sterling component to it.

I also got inspired by a collaborative piece I did with Pringle Teeter when she asked me to make a chain for her Hunter’s Globe in our All about the Story Exhibit. The more the world around me seemed to becoming unhinged the more obsessed I became with hinges and I made a couple of necklaces and bracelets that were created mostly of hinges. I loved the light and airy feel they have.

Then I got in a mood to work on some of my serious work of a more tailored line. I felt like I was searching for some sort of stability.

All the while I was reading books, magazines and watching tutorials on how to fire enamel during the slow times on my shifts at the gallery. I have wanted to learn torch enameling for a long time. I began ordering the things I knew I would need and one day I sat down with my book and began experimenting. I loved it from the first firing I did! I found I could mix my light and airy component to the sturdy and stable piece of enamel and find a comfortable balance.

I loved the way my friends and family and gallery folks reacted to my newest line at our opening! I loved that so many people wanted to try it on and hold it in their hands. And having my exhibit along with Ali Givens and Michele Yellin, with all their big bold happy colors made our title Serious Fun fit perfectly into the space..

 

Serious Fun

Nell Chandler writes, “For our show I have created some of my narrative jewelry about relationships, spirituality and just life. I have also made some of my more abstract pieces that have a more tailored look. I always enjoy reaching back to my previous techniques and jewelry lines for inspiration, but this year feels different. I find the challenges of the world today burdening my heart.  As a reaction to this heaviness, I find myself in the studio making pieces that are more lighthearted and airy.”

Chandler continues,  This show  has also given me the opportunity to try something new. I have been thinking about trying a little torch firing and have been reading magazines and books and watching tutorials. I have dabbled a bit now and it feels perfect for our show we named Serious fun.

Painter and assemblage artist, Michele Yellin, often begins her work by placing a quote in the underpainting as way to start the process. Color is the language she uses with great boldness to say the things that cannot be expressed in words. As she layers the canvas with color she finds that figures and shapes begin to emerge. Much like a writer developing a cast of characters, she lets these shapes and figures tell her who they are. Michele moves from philosophical to playful with deftness and a strong sense of her own artistic voice.

Yellin writes, “For Serious Fun I have created vibrant paintings and wooden folk art using texture, layers of color, and line. With these elements, I am exploring the reality that is inside the reality we see.”

Fabric artist Ali Givens writes, “For Serious Fun  I have worked on refining several fabric collages that I began years ago. For some pieces, such as “Orange Peacock” I removed one element, the peacock, from the original quilt and built an entirely new composition. In another work, “Long Afternoon” I simplified the colors to create a completely new feeling. I’ve also revisted my favorite theme for other new work: the still life. Especially fun and challenging for me was incorporating my own interpretations of my fellow artists’ paintings and pottery as elements in my own collages. Being inspired by my friends is always the most fun, serious fun.”

Opening Reception

July 28

6-9

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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.

 

Up Close

Alice Levinson

There is an old saying, “the devil is in the detail”. In the case of my artwork, detail is at the heart of the work. Viewed 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 and elaboration of detail.

Approaching the work reveals a variety of materials I incorporate into complex layered elements. With closer scrutiny one can appreciate the multitude and variety of stitching which embellishes and elaborates the work .


In preparing the work for this featured exhibit, I began by sorting through my stash of hand-dyed cloth, looking for those with the most interesting tones and textures and arranged them sequentially. The resulting color story runs through the works, with colors featured in one piece, are visual echos in others. As you look through the gallery I hope you will follow the color ‘thread’. It is a delight to exhibit my work in the company of Lynn Wartski’s beautifully wrought doll sculptures and Linda Carmel’s sculptural paintings. The Featured Artist space this month is filled with color, joy, and life. I hope you will visit our work and come UP CLOSE.

Up Close

 Lynn Wartski
 
One of my favorite parts of our yearly featured artist shows at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts occurs at the beginning of the day we install.  It starts with each of us unpacking and un-crating the work that we have produced.  What happens at that point is a mixture of art and magic in itself. Somehow, art by three separate artists in solitary studios starts to tell a harmonious story.
This year, I have the honor to show my art doll figures along side the sculptural paintings of Linda Carmel, and the textile creations of Alice Levinson. There is a level of complexity in the work of all three artists that truly invites the view to take a look “Up Close”. Obviously, it is a natural fit for a sculptor like me who creates art doll figures.  The scale and level of detail of my work invites the viewer in.  I want you to notice that one piece has purple shoelaces, or that another is actually holding a small file to sharpen the spear she holds. You will find many similar discoveries within Alice and Linda’s work as well.
 
My dolls for this show are all quite different.  The only real common feature this year is an increased used of paperclay as my medium of choice for the heads and hands of my figures.  I have in the past retained a tie to my earlier sculpture work in metals by always including some amount of copper in each piece.  This year, I decided to free myself from that constraint.  The end result is nine figures each with their own completely different story to tell, and each tale told with materials that make sense for that piece alone.  I guess that now I must fully refer to my work as mixed media sculpture.  I invite you to come in to the Hillsborough Gallery this month, and take a close look at each, and see what they say to you.

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