Archive for April, 2011

The first Friday nights in Louisville are reserved for gallery hopping along the Main and Market Street corridors.  Among the best exhibits opening this evening included five StudioWorks artists that showcased their talents along side professional artists from our community.  The exhibition is entitled “Brothers and Sisters” and was curated by Carol Mueller and produced by the Council on Developmental Disabilities’ Weber Gallery.  The exhibit benefited from the support and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The opening was a success and a large art loving crowd came to see the fruits of twenty pairs of artists coming together to share themes, collaborate, and engage in the creative process.  The five StudioWorks artists invited to participate were Eric Huggins, Carol Thorp, Terry Bishop, Nancy Anderson, and Julie Baldyga.  This post documents their various collaborations.

Our Carol was paired with photographer and curator, Michael Winters and they decided to combine their strengths to make one art work.  First, Michael photographed Carol…and then returned with his image of her for her to embellish in a personal way. Carol decided to add color with acrylic paint.

After Michael returned with Carol’s image transferred to a clear plexiglas sheet…Carol then painted a stretched canvas the exact size to place behind the photograph.  It was serendipitous that the floral design that Carol was wearing on her blouse the day her photo was taken became an important element of the finished artwork.  Carol chose bright rainbow-like colors and butterfly images to compliment the design on the photograph.  Her family really likes how this picture turned out.

Carol had some help registering the two images, but conceived the color scheme and did the painting.  Here’s the finished piece sandwiched  together and framed in the show.  Carol stood near her portrait and talked with many visitors who admired the work!

Another great project was the work of Jeff East and Eric Huggins.  Both artists are fond of using clay and are great music lovers.  Jeff initiated things by teaching Eric how to make clay reliefs.  They each then chose related, but personal subjects to interpret.  Eric decided on portraits of Motown and Blues greats, while Jeff made images of his favorite dream guitars!  First, the images were created in moist low fire clay.

Here’s a few of their designs before firing in the bisque kiln.

After the bisque firing which went well, a ceramic stain was applied to the hardened clay plaques.  Sponges and brushes were used to apply and remove the stain and then the reliefs were fired in the kiln again.

This is Eric’s finished work on display at the Weber Gallery.  Both Eric and Jeff received many compliments over their collaboration.

With their strong talents for design and color, StudioWorks artist, Nancy Anderson and fused glass artist Mary Swanson found common ground very quickly.

For the “Sisters and Brothers” show, each artist chose to submit an original work that showed a shared concern.  In this case, both artists have a formal sense for beauty which is demonstrated by the geometric diamond patterning and for the use of intense, brilliant color.  Mary was nice enough to share her techniques for cutting and fusing glass with Nancy.  After this collaborative piece was finished, Mary gifted the glass art work to Nancy who proudly displays it in her home on a nice stand.  Here are Mary and Nancy’s hands working together.

This is Nancy smiling proudly next to her acrylic painting and Mary’s fused glass artwork at the opening of “Sisters and Brothers”.

Of the artistic pairings, the one featuring photographer Sarah Lyons and StudioWorks artist Julie Baldyga seemed the most natural.  That is because they have been friends and admirers of one another’s work for a couple of years now.  Sarah is known for a series of photographs of women motorcycle mechanics at work and Julie frequently portrays women repairing large machines.  Both are interested in showing women being self-reliant and empowered as subjects in their art.  Sarah’s large color photograph is of a mechanic repairing an antique boat engine and Julie’s pastel features a figure and a large turbine engine. For Julie, it is a reoccurring image.  Here are a few photos of the artists discussing their works both at StudioWorks and at the Weber Gallery.

Julie and Sarah enjoyed the moment and many people were generous with their comments about their art.  Terry Bishop and I are the last StudioWorks pair.  I’ve known and worked with Terry now for nearly two years and I have always admired his drawings.  He has a lovely drawing style and his piece is of himself and his friends being together.

This is Terry’s drawing and I love the simplicity and purity of its sentiment.  My sculpture interpreting the theme of friendship is displayed next to Terry’s drawing and can be seen in the first image of this post.  I like working with found materials that I salvage from the Ohio River.  I enjoy how the elements have weathered the materials I use and I feel that nature truly plays a part in shaping what I do in a very literal sense.  Terry and I occasionally draw together, but for this show our own individual works were our stronger efforts.  I enjoy the idea that although we are different artists in many ways, we still have more things in common than not.

The Louisville visual art scene is in the process of shifting and much discussion is being generated speculating which way things will flow.  With hope, an exhibition like “Brothers and Sisters” will signal greater inclusiveness for all who enjoy making and viewing art.  The art on display at the Weber Gallery is compelling and satisfying and worth the visit.  If you are on South Fourth Street, drop by for a look see…the show continues till the end of June! 

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