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 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

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

Lynn Wartski
A big part of the joy of creating art can come in experiencing the reactions of others.  I enjoy watching people in the gallery approach my figure sculptures for a closer look.  They have the exact opposite effect of an expansive painting where a step back will get the best view. Their scale as art dolls requires the viewer to approach, crouch down, and perhaps walk around. It is in this intimate proximity that each piece can reveal all the little surprises and details I have worked in to the final design. It is rewarding to have those who appreciate my work take note and tell me and others what they see there.
cello_secrets_wartski
I experienced several of these moments at the opening reception of Go Figure!  One woman viewing my piece “Cello”, asked if I had myself played the instrument.  I replied that I had not, and asked what had made her ask.  She said that she had played the cello, and that I nailed not just the posture of the figure, but that her hand, wrist, and finger positions were spot on.  I told her that I had in fact spent time pouring over images of cellists for that exact reason.
A couple was looking quite carefully at “Getting Lift”.  The husband asked his wife to walk this way to see the stitching on her helmet, just as the wife told him to come to the back so that he could see how I had laced the wings on to her back.  They both told me that it truly appeared that she was just about to take off from her base, and inquired what the key chained to her belt unlocked.
Others remarked that they didn’t truly appreciate “Secrets” until they were able to get up real close and see the expression on her face, or the fact that her boots just happened to match the fabric of her dress bodice. Of “Lacing III”, one viewer told me that she could really see the dancer’s concentration to her task.
A number of people told me that they could place themselves right in the moment I tried to capture with “Sunshine on a Cloudy Day”.  They all noted the joy and freedom of the figure despite the weather she was probably experiencing.
sunshine_-wartski
Perhaps most rewarding, were the comments that surrounded the show Go Figure! itself. Most saying that beyond the obvious connection of human figures, that there was a brightness and strength of spirit that tied all of the artists work together.
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ART from shows

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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ART from shows