The Dichotomy of an Artist:
Abstractions and Realizations
JANUARY 4 – JANUARY 30
Opening Friday, January 5th, 2017 at 6pm
Gallery 425, 425 Market Street, Williamsport, PA 17701
ABOUT THE SHOW
This exhibit embodies an artistic struggle between the realistic and the abstract in his current work and his personal nature.
Gilmour has been formally trained to interpret real-world objects as technically accurate as possible. As an illustrator, there was no room for abstraction or “creative interpretation.” Generally, one can master the technical skills necessary to replicate an object or scene on a two-dimensional field relatively easily. Occasionally–and rarely–a fine illustration can be viewed as art.
On the other hand, as a fine artist with both formal art education and significant practical experience, abstraction can push the boundaries of creativity into uncomfortable territory. No longer is it safe to lay down the “technically correct” texture or color. And more often, a piece is almost expected to have an unusualness. For the viewer or consumer, the expectation is to be somehow annoyed, tricked or confronted with some esoteric profundity—an inner exploration of one’s deepest, darkest thoughts or feelings as it were.
For Gilmour, having the viewer appreciate one of his works comes down to the simple reality of how he chooses a good bottle of wine.
“If you open and drink a particular bottle and you like it…it’s a good bottle of wine”.
When you look at his work, there is no trickery, no profundity. If you like it, then he has done his job. Conversely, if you don’t care for it or feel you don’t “understand” it, then, he has done his job.
Abstractions: A Thought Collective
A Selection of Assemblages
This series of abstract assemblages is dominated by the commonality of four general elements; feathers, photographs, metallics or organics, and words; all being found objects. Sometimes they are found as a collective, sometimes they have been intentionally assembled.
For Gilmour, feathers embody the ethereal; the unobtainable free spirit of flight. The inclusion of actual feathers brings a textural element to the composition. They are also intended to invoke whatever it is they represent to a viewer’s mind.
Found photographs capture the mundane, the face of a long departed relative or those with whom we have no recollection. They are random snippets of time, and since they are “found” they may have no relationship to any of the other elements, or, they might.
Metallic castoffs, oxidized survivors of our daily social progress, are gathered from a variety of locations as are the organics; twigs and stems that present interesting textural relief or shapes.
Words and phrases with unusual juxtapositions have been collected from professional journals, papers and other public sources. Individually words can invoke incredible meaning. Collectively, when gathered from a variety of sources, their meaning can summon total confusion. Some words are left to rust and wane, some are used until they no longer serve a function. Some others express humorous or thought-provoking approaches to life’s dilemmas. None of the statements are related.
All the elements have been manipulated, modified and massaged. Many are intentionally connected with deliberate bindings and reside on a non-objective abstract background reminiscent of a chaotic flurry of unintentional drug-induced energy. Gilmour does this art when he wants to escape the precision of illustration.
Realizations: Architectural Archaeology
A Pen and Ink Series
This series embodies a collection of pen and ink illustrations focused on the visual preservation of rural architecture. The buildings, with a few exceptions, can be found within the greater Lycoming County (PA) region. They are artistic snapshots of utilitarian structures that have passed into uselessness. These barns and outbuildings have successfully evolved from the mundane into the sublime. The works explore the play of light and shadow, stark contrast, and hyper-realistic details that reside within the structures. Purposely editing out much of the surrounding environment focuses visual attention on the subject bringing the viewer simultaneously into and out of the scene. This is what he finds himself doing when he is suffering jet lag from a recent flight of fantasy.
Disclaimer: No birds were harmed in the creation of these pieces of art. All feathers were obtained from legal sources.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Fred Gilmour is an artist/ designer with over 45 years of experience in fine art, graphic, video and instructional design. He is a producing artist with a strong interest in black and white mediums such as pencil and pen and ink. He also finds acrylic and watercolor media challenging and enjoyable.
Gilmour also holds a parallel interest in digital imagery using a variety of photographic and post-production graphic arts techniques.
His work was shown at galleries in St. John, U.S.V.I., and Irvington, VA. He currently has work in Gustin’s Gallery, Corning, NY. He was a founding partner of The Eagles Mere Art Gallery, an artist co-op in Eagles Mere, PA. He has exhibited in one-man and group shows at various venues in the Greater Williamsport (PA) area and the Gallery at Penn College. In the past he has served as a judge for the Scholastic Art Exhibit and various photography competitions. His artwork has appeared on the Discovery Channel.
He is retired from Pennsylvania College of Technology where he was Director of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Art. His former professional responsibilities included film and television production, digital photography, computer art, 3D computer animation, graphic and web design, and instructional program design for both face-to-face and distance learning environments. He holds professor emeritus status.
Gilmour produced close to a hundred multimedia instructional programs and videotapes during his career including one of the first college credit programs to teach drawing using the Internet.
He was formally trained as a Technical Illustrator. He holds two associate degrees, a BS degree in Art Education from Mansfield University. His artwork and photography have hung in Pennsylvania State and U.S. Congressional offices as well as governmental offices in Australia. His work on multimedia productions received a number of national awards and international recognition.
He serves on the Advisory Committee for the Gallery at Penn College, a committee that selects upcoming artist’s shows, and the UPMC Susquehanna Health Arts Advisory Committee; a group that selects art to be installed in the healthcare environment.
Please help us welcome Fred Gilmour to Gallery425 on First Friday, January 5th, 2017 at 6pm.
JUDITH MEYERS OLINSKY
Two Portfolios of Explorations in Feminine Identity:
Welcome to the World, Baby Girl and The Ruby Slipper Suite.
A GALLERY TALK
NOVEMBER 30 -JANUARY 2
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Judy is a self-taught painter, which accounts for the oddity/uniqueness of her aesthetic. She is mostly a portrait painter with a still evolving style. The way she wants to paint is somewhere between Alice Neel and Larry Rivers, with a touch of Francesco Clemente and keeps pushing forward in hopes of developing a consistent style of her own.
She has a friend who paints the Goddess and the Earth Mother. When she looked at her friend’s work about feminine strength, she realized that part of what she had been painting is the soft vulnerable under belly of the feminine principle. Most of her work seems to be exploring the boundaries and the demands of the role of being a woman; from the beginning of time, from her grandmother’s generation to her own. Judy doesn’t have a daughter so she can only speak of the current generation from the vantage point of her own experience. She is seeking to a have a clear sense of the lines between being a woman and a self.
Judy comes out of the I950’s ethnic, working-class, patriarchal definitions of gender roles. She didn’t start out thinking about feminist issues but it seemed, as a woman who lived through the second wave of feminism, she didn’t have much choice. She lived through a time that questioned gender identity. Gender role confusion was what was on her mind. Without realizing it at first, she has been using art to explore the issue of identity and of gender.
In addition to trying to find out what it means to be a self, she is trying to fit that self into the body of a woman. Or, maybe she has been trying to find out what it means to become a self in the body of a woman.
Judy agrees with Picasso, when he said “Painting isn’t an aesthetic operation; it’s a form of magic designed as a mediation between this strange hostile world and us, a way of giving form to our terrors as well as our desires.”
As to the themes of her overall subject matter, it appears part of what she is doing is creating a visual diary in the tradition of Frieda Kahlo and Joan Brown. All time exists at the same time and she keeps moving back and forth in time from now to childhood, to the previous generations, to the ancient world trying to see or to make sense of life. She quotes Faulkner regarding time when he says “the past isn’t dead, it isn’t even past.” When she paints, time doesn’t matter. Space doesn’t seem to matter either, for sometimes the inside is outside and the outside is inside. The outer world and the inner world bleed back and forth. On canvas, matter, psyche and spirit all exist at the same time, in varying ratios and on shifting planes. In painting and in life Judy finds that it is always hard to find a place to put things, even parts of herself.
What keeps her going is the hope that her painting will someday come close to what Clement Greenberg expressed about Milton Avery when he said,” His paintings show once again how relatively indifferent the means of art becomes when force of feeling takes over.”
See more portfolios from Judy on her website.
TIME & RECOLLECTION
NOVEMBER 1 – NOVEMBER 29
OPENS FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3RD, 2017
“Curly” (Caran d’ache on Strathmore, 16″ X 25″)
ABOUT THE ARTIST
As an artist, his historic influences include the Avant-garde and Pop art. Visually, he is intrigued with close and spatial positioning of unlike objects creating an interesting and provocative relationship. The process is always a creative challenge. He has a personal connection to the subject/object that sustains his interest throughout the process. Also important for Murphy is to develop emphasis on design, and color where applicable. He feels as if he is capturing a moment in time—the ambiance and sensibility of the subject. For Murphy, recollections and connection to the subject facilitate creating an aesthetic image.
View his Resume
Join us for the opening of “Time and Recollection” Friday, November 3rd at 6pm.
A GARDEN OF THOUGHT: AN EXHIBIT OF CERAMICS, ACRYLICS AND MIXED MEDIA
OCTOBER 5 – NOVEMBER 1
Opening Friday, October 6th, 2017
“As I have continued work in clay and painting with acrylics, I have found that more layers of mixed media are becoming a necessary component of completing my work. I have added graphite, metal leaf and fabric to the mix, and still have no fear of found objects if they serve any purpose to complete a concept.
My process of mixing media goes along with an intense flow of perpetual thoughts and meanderings… all of which are growing like the proverbial weeds in a garden of ordered visual beauty.
The ceramic and mixed media pieces still pursue an exploration of history, legend and life experiences but now more firmly based in recollections of family, intertwining personal connections and the discovery of my “self” which has apparently been planted with some vigorous roots.
Still entranced by organic shapes, I find myself using heavier paint and abstraction. My female mind always relates to those organic shapes which often reveal as female forms, or twining and lyrical lines or calligraphy.
Stories, images and philosophies of the past now feed and give life to the growth of the future.”
-Carol Ann Simon-Cillo
MEET THE ARTIST
Carol Ann (Simon) Cillo grew up in the Pittsburgh, PA area, studied at Carnegie Mellon University as a teen and graduated from Edinboro University of PA with her B.S. in Art Education. A Williamsport resident for many years, she began “on the boards” as a graphic designer, then became Art Director at C.A. Reed Inc. of Williamsport, a national party goods company. She and her partner, Steve Getz, then founded and are partner/owners of If-the Idea Factory, a design studio in Lock Haven, PA which has worked with companies around the country designing everything from product surface design, catalogs & brochures to museum and trade show exhibits.
She has served as Adjunct Faculty at Penn College of Technology teaching Color Theory, and was elected to a three-year term on the Board of Directors for the Color Marketing Group (CMG – an international organization for color trends) as well as directing workshops at their international conferences as Co-Chairman for Colors Current Directions, Design and Color Expressions for presentations with up to 750 attendees per conference.
She currently serves on the Board of the Station Gallery in Lock Haven, PA., where she serves as President and helps to secure artists’ works to organize shows at the gallery. Carol is a juried Pennsylvania Artisan for the PA Wilds.
Her work is available at galleries in Williamsport, Jersey Shore, Lock Haven, and Emporium, PA. Her pieces also hang permanently at the UPMC Susquehanna Regional Medical Center and Lock Haven University. She has won numerous awards for her artwork in various shows in Pennsylvania, including acceptance into the juried 2013 Art of the State exhibit at the State Museum of PA in Harrisburg, PA.
Opening Friday, September 1st, 2017
6pm – Close
CATHARSIS: The act of purging or purification, elimination of a complex by bringing it to consciousness and affording its expression.
The exhibition will consist of ten or more large and medium sized mixed media paintings on canvas. Interlacing the paintings will be mixed media drawings on paper. Selected pictorial elements from the initial drawings will be repeated within the larger paintings creating a sense of repetition, continuity and unity. However, upon close examination it will be evident to the viewer that the images have been altered slightly or significantly in order to reinforce the constancy of change and the need for individual adaptation.
McCloskey’s work deals with subject matter such as Nature, Myth, Religion and Faith, Secret and Mystery Traditions, Globalization, Artificial Intelligence, Automation, Information Overloads and Crashes, Frivolous Merriment, Mass Surveillance, Security, Culture as Acute Insecurities, Domination and Submission, Addiction, Sexuality, Identity, Nostalgia, Critical thinking, Repetition, Ethnomusicology, Improvisation, Interdisciplinary Arts, and Art as Therapy.
When I am asked to describe my artwork I do my best to be humble, conscientious, and respectful to those who pose such a question. The thing is, I am terribly averse to the ego stroking parties and back-handed competition so important to some artists. I wish to remain humble and teachable because to be the opposite will only inhibit understanding and growth. The one-up games of egocentric parties involved in discreet artistic and intellectual espionage runs counter to the goals that I have set forth as a visual artist. The fact is this is a life-long process. An artist must be more than comfortable to sit at the table alone. Conversely, if such a table, room, field, or stage is teeming with other individuals the artist must be able to individuate themselves and assert autonomy within the collective.
In addition, a balance must be struck with ambition and acceptance. An artist will always strive to make each work more successful than the previous work. The key is to accept the fact that this is not always possible and to move forward regardless of the potential defeats or unexpected setbacks.
I intend for my work to be bold, uncompromising, and unapologetic because all of the mistakes I make and all of the lessons learned from each defeat has provided growth as an artist. I take responsibility for my actions.
The artist Marcel Duchamp once said: “I force myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste.” What a refreshing thought to ponder in an age of human history that seems to suggest that everything has been done and all of the answers to one’s quest for happiness are to be found in the rich and learned houses of the elite. To some, art may simply be a product for the dominant culture but to those of us who are active participants in its creation it is a lifelong learning exercise. It is a sacred place where intuition becomes expressed and the meandering, screeching, pounding calliope of everyday life submits to the will of the conscious individual who MUST create something to document their experiences. The art I create allows my intuition to break through the matter of my bodily systems and create expressions of this world which I temporarily inhabit. All too often I have experienced the inundation of impressionistic waves, feelings and internal visualizations which elude the capture of expression. However, every so often, the net that is my conscious-self grips hold of something that pulls the substance through the other side to be splashed onto a material object such as paper, canvas, metal, or keyboard. To be sure, these expressions are still in an intermediate stage and require further refinement of intuiting. This does not deter the artist. In fact, the challenges are welcomed with a sincere appreciation for the opportunity to grasp hold of the wonders, joys, sorrows, and reconciliations that await those who choose to live the life of the artist. As a result, a new body of work is again beginning to emerge.
The process for creating these current (and future) artworks at this stage of development can be described: The initial lines, masses and volumes are drawn intuitively with graphite pencil and drafting tools, mixed mediums, etc. Materials should further concepts as opposed to constraining the composition. A musical selection of any given genre is almost always playing. There is no question that music informs the individual process associated with my work.
Gestural lines of varying width and value, invented alphabetic/numerical and archetypal symbols, amorphous figures, fractal figures, photographs, non-objective scribbles, collage and hard edged geometric shapes become fused together with free hand line and the chosen colors. The process often requires a change of perspective to accomplish the assimilation of what I perceive as individual parts within the whole of the composition. In order to facilitate these ends I will often shift the orientation of the page. For example, if there is a difficult or problem area; flip the page over end. The entire composition changes and meaningful connections, associations, and additions can be added. Sometimes I find myself working in a trance like state of consciousness. When this occurs drawing and painting sessions often carry on for a number of hours into the early morning. Most often, the state of mind is calm and calculating searching for a line to bridge to a existing line or a vacuous space to fill for the sake of relief. On other occasions the music is deafening and I am raucous in the studio. Complimentary and contrasting color is added in order to facilitate connections and suggest vibratory spaces of irreconcilable voids. As the piece evolves, additional lines are painted or penciled in and detailed by hand as shapes, structures, evocative buildings, figures, objects, etc.
When the work is a mixed media drawing the eraser is not used as a tool to correct a mistake. There are no mistakes, not really, only progress. Rather, the eraser is used as a means to push, pull, enhance, and fade marks made to the ground. Also, the initial composition drafting process includes a practice of striking the paper pointedly on instinct, sometimes. For example, while the music is playing the hand hovers above the page while the eyes scan the newly drawn space and when the moment “feels right” a mark is made as quickly as possible. After all, there is nothing wrong with acting as a renegade conductor. The train is sure to derail. We are on track.
Regardless of the formula or anti-formula that I choose to follow on any given occasion the fact of the matter is that each mark made is a decision. It is a choice to create and record a specific moment in time. Sometimes, I find it helpful to do what is possible to introduce an element of randomness to the work. I have used black powder and various firearms to make art. This has proven to be an interesting experimental exercise. When applied in disparate and thin patterns to the surface of the canvas and ignited the black powder flashes across the canvas in a split second and makes an impression without burning through the ground. It is essentially introducing a small explosion to the art and allowing the subtle, feathery patterns to inform the next decision of the composition process.
The artist must effectively meditate on his work. A helpful practice is to shift ones perception of the work in progress to a state of renewed novelty. Utilization of techniques to shift perception allows myself to engage with the work from multiple perspectives and see the work as a hyperbolic expression of thoughts radiating from my consciousness.
Sometimes I like to think of the work that is being creating in terms of their relationship to music, especially jazz, classical, and rock and roll. An interdisciplinary arts approach is attractive and usually effective. In the case of my most recent work, there is a concerted effort to make art that stands on its own ground and digs deeply into the stories of many minds beyond my own.
Writers often talk about finding their own voice as a precursor to becoming an accomplished writer. Similarly, it is also necessary to cultivate your own “voice” when making visual art of a sacred nature. The artist must BELIEVE that the work is their own and that it matters. The audience or viewer is secondary. Pandering to an audience will only result in disappointment and unsatisfactory working conditions in the studio. Laboring intensely over a work that is not your own can be the most dishonest and unfulfilling experience for artists. However, creating from the ground up a work that one truly believes in can be a joyous and celebratory experience. Especially when it is finished! If the artist is not satisfied with the work that they are creating applauds of viewers and critics alike will only serve to deepen the frustration of the artist. Some may disagree. If so, that is their right to do so.
Musings about the 2017 work:
My primary focus is the interpretation of cultural consciousness, the individualistic lens which allows us as individuals to navigate the world and collide with other conscious entities. I attempt to make sense of the time (temporal) and place (spatial) that I exist in by fusing together elements of expressionism, symbolism, surrealism, non-objectivity, impressionism, automatic drawing, freely associated lines of inquiry and hard edge geometrics among others. Sources of inspiration for my artwork include but are not limited to anthropology, peace activism, art history, ethnomusicology, literature, waking consciousness, dream states, psychedelic visions, war, propaganda, male and female relationships, philosophy, capitalism, anarchism, mortality, obsessions, addictions, counter-culture figures, freedom, and blatant contradiction. By making art that calls into question the status quo and by pushing myself beyond my limits I am doing my part to shift the paradigm and spread a message of strong spirit, peaceful living, love, and solidarity. All of my artwork showcases the connection between the conscious world of the waking and the sub-conscious world of dreaming. Emphasis is placed on personal meaning and interpretation. The exercise of consciousness expansion is also a primary element involved with the creation of this body of work. Personal pleasure and turmoil have respective places as well. All of these pictures are imbued with the people, places and experiences from my travels through both the world of my waking reality and the world of my dreams. Most importantly, the new body of work in progress is another attempt to break through, to transcend, and to create something beautiful. The work is never finished. It lives fast and keeps going.
“Bless love and hope. Full many a withered year whirled past us, eddying to its chill doomsday; and clasped together where the blown leaves lay, we long have knelt and wept full many a tear. Yet lo! one hour at last, the Spring’s compeer, flutes softly to us from some green byeway: those years, those tears are dead, but only they: –Bless love and hope, true soul; for we are here. Cling heart to heart; nor of this hour demand whether in very truth, when we are dead, our hearts shall wake to know Love’s golden head sole sunshine of the imperishable land; or but discern, through night’s unfeatured scope, scorn-fired at length the illusive eyes of Hope.”
-Dante Gabriel Rosetti
“Live fast and keep going.”
“The history of art shows nothing more clearly than that the critics whose standards are based on the authority of the “classics” have in their own age rejected most violently those contemporary works upon which subsequent ages have unfailingly conferred classic status.”
-Dr. Albert C. Barnes
View Damon’s resume HERE.
JOIN US FOR THE DUAL OPENING OF HIDE & SEEK, BY JAMES AND MEREDITH GRIMSLEY, ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 4TH, 2017 @ 6:00PM
JAMES GRIMSLEY ARTIST STATEMENT
My decision to work the way I do is to give myself the time to comprehend what I am making. My sculptural macrocosms are meant to question, expose, reflect, and hide. I strive for a depth of meaning as well as space. I want the viewer to be a voyeur – to be shown too much and sometimes not enough. The imagery is drawn from my past, the world around me, and the potential of souls, focusing primarily on how we treat each other, and the fears of being human. Evolving from a personal need to meditate on them, I depict images, from the portrait of my newborn nephew after he died, to the political and physical obsessions of men and women. Over several months of work I hope to develop a piece that is provocative to the viewer and involves them in my psyche. I hope to draw the viewer close with security of form and scale, and repel with preciousness and imagery. To create a dynamic relationship between the patron and the piece, I utilize the pull of an appealing feature melding into an abhorrent one. They are a collage of images with a personal aura, who’s ultimate story is written by the audience. In my absence, I want my work to communicate what words always fall short of capturing, a sensitivity in meaning.
BIO OF JAMES GRIMSLEY
James Grimsley received is MFA in 2003 from the University of Georgia in Athens, GA, and his BFA from Syracuse University in 1998. While in Graduate School he developed severe reactions to clay and other irritants related to Ceramics. He developed this method of carving clay to remain in school and in the medium he loved. After graduate school he finished several pieces for a solo show that never came to fruition. For the last 10 years his focus has been renovating a home and becoming a stay at home dad.
JOIN US FOR THE DUAL OPENING OF HIDE & SEEK, BY JAMES AND MEREDITH GRIMSLEY, ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 4TH, 2017 @ 6:00PM
MEREDITH GRIMSLEY ARTIST’S STATEMENT
In Zora Neale Hurston’s novel, Their Eyes Where Watching God, she describes the altered state of a woman seeking resolution and solace in prayer:
“There is a basin in the mind where words float around a thought and thought on sound and sight. Then there is a depth of thought untouched by words and deeper still a gulf of formless feelings untouched by thought”
Acknowledging a sense of loss and gratitude in daily life, I imbue the surfaces of my pieces with prayers and patterns which disclose my choices, behavior and faith. Each object made reflects moments of meditation and a longing for grace. In pursuit of truth, my spiritual identity emerges. My soul’s yearning for a connection fuels my imagination. To my audience, I whisper about my search with the physical, indelible mark of the stitch.
Recently, I have begun to contemplate pivotal experiences which permanently alter a person’s life and path. Through both unsettling and alluring imagery, I reveal the psychological impact of: an environmental disaster; the death of a loved one; a terminal diagnosis; a physical ailment; the loss of innocence; the birth of a child; self-destruction; and spiritual conversion or degradation. By striking a balance between beauty and distortion, my work explores the endurance of the human spirit. I am fascinated by the imagery and behavior expressed in spiritualism, mysticism and superstition. I want to delve deeper into these beliefs as well as the psychology and physiology of massive change in people’s lives. Some significant events happen in a breath and are absorbed into our daily routine without examination. Others linger within us endlessly either corroding or correcting our core. Our minds and bodies are permanently reformed. We can be reborn with a new perspective.
BIO OF MEREDITH GRIMSLEY
Meredith Re’ Grimsley received her MFA in 2002 and her BFA in 1999 in Fabric Design from the University of Georgia in Athens, GA. Her work, including wearable art, installation, performance, two-dimensional and three dimensional forms, has been shown in numerous national and international venues in solo and group exhibitions. She is professor of Fabric Design at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.
Don’t Label Me!
JULY 5 – AUGUST 2
Opening Friday, July 7th @ 6:00pm
Emma Daniels is a 2017 Lycoming College graduate whose work explores human identity and the conflict among societal labels. She became interested in film and alternative processes during her internship under local Williamsport photographer, Ralph Wilson. She will be working toward her masters of fine arts at San Francisco Art Institute in the fall. She plans on pursuing a career as an Art Director upon completing her studies.
ARTIST STATEMENT: Don’t Label Me!
I feel that in today’s society, physical appearance acts as a deciding factor on whether we choose to accept, respect, or interact with a person. It is my belief that it is personal identity which defines a person, not their physical appearance. I have observed that people identify in countless ways, but because of physical appearance, many do not get the chance to be understood. Your personal identity is a label you can only give yourself, not a label society can place upon you. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines that personal identity refers to certain properties to which a person feels a special sense of attachment or ownership. Someone’s personal identity in this sense consists of those features she takes to “define her as a person” or “make her the person she is.” I feel it is all too common in our society to judge a person’s identity based off their physical or audible appearance.
My body of art fights against this notion of prejudice based on appearance by consisting of portraits in the form of silhouettes, of people varying of many shapes, sizes, colors, and textures. Each image is photographed with black and white medium format film and printed onto a circular tree ring. This was in attempt to create a unifying background and style, but also to point out individuality, for each ring of a tree is unique, like a human fingerprint. I treated the wood with a light sensitive material that prepared the wood to produce an image as if it were traditional photo paper in a darkroom. Silhouettes were used in attempt to make the participants unidentifiable. I felt that if the person were just an outline or shadow, it would give them a chance to be seen for who they personally identify as, rather than a preconceived label that society has given them. Furthermore, I asked each participant to write a few sentences on how they would prefer to be or known for, if given the chance to be looked at without prejudice. I then traced their statements onto a bleached leaf which are scattered amongst the portraits. The bleached leaves represent the delicacy and individuality of each statement, while again emphasizing unity. In theory, each participant’s statement can be paired with any portrait. My goal with this body of artwork is to express that “you cannot judge a book by its cover.”
Learn more about Emma on her website, HERE.
Opening Friday, June 2nd, 2017 at 6pm
MIRROR SHOW 2017
The compositions included in this show are intended to rearrange and deconstruct otherwise familiar settings to suggest new ways of seeing one’s surroundings. They are intended to be kaleidoscopically entertaining, slightly humorous, and a bit off-center. In that regard, it is possible that they are somewhat autobiographical.
The art of seeing as apposed to the business of looking is at the heart of it. In practical terms, a mirror does not lie, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that it must tell the straight, unvarnished truth. I remember walking around the house as a child holding a mirror out in front such that my path lay across the ceiling. We had a bathroom mirror with two side wings that swung inward so that one could see his reflection echoed into infinity.
These pieces are about collage that includes anything within view – constantly changing and rearranging. There is no deep hidden meaning, no covert philosophy, no personal catharsis. They incorporate small tidbits of the woodworking equivalent of semi- precious stones. These accumulate in my workshop – some go back many years until such a place is found for them.
I distinctly remember spectacular pieces of Birdseye maple stuck randomly in the floor of our high school gym. Sensitivity to the diversity of such a common material obviously goes back a long way. Like much of my formative years, I was always focused on that which did little to guarantee success in a conventional sense. I am, however, easily entertained by such minutiae.
All that you see here is intended to speak on its own terms. The small blocks of wood need little more than a platform to wax eloquent. The mirror may not lie but hopefully there might be a wink and a nod.
ABOUT THE DESIGNER
Svec’s original workshop and studio was established in 1980, shortly after college graduation, in cramped rented space – the basement of an old farm house. It was moved to its present location at 51 Island Road in about 1988 upon completion of the building which houses it to the present. The building, a post and beam barn, was acquired in 1986, disassembled, moved, and re-erected on its present site on the Great Island, just east of Lock Haven, Pa.
Lock Haven State College, as it was known then, had no program in furniture design at the time when that direction presented itself. Through their General Studies major, a curriculum of unconventional, yet pertinent, coursework resulted in a viable background in art, art history, archaeology, anthropology, botany, and 3-D design for Svec. This included ceramics, sculpture, and color and composition, with a fair amount of science on the side.
His woodworking skills are largely self-taught. Access to a hobby shop belonging to his father provided the earliest opportunities for acquiring skills. Other than a brief, required course in wood shop in eighth grade, all other woodworking education has been self-generated. 2015 marked Svec’s 35th year of continuous endeavor as a furniture designer/builder.
Since the beginning, domestic hardwoods from the abundance of upstate resources has been the featured material utilized in the production of fine, original design furniture. In addition to conventional lumber, extensive use of salvaged wood from building demolition, and urban tree service sources, has been incorporated in the design process.
Born in Ames, Iowa, the middle child of nine, Svec briefly attended Iowa State University, before being drafted into the Army. After being discharged, he relocated to Central Pennsylvania to be near his grandparents, who lived in Williamsport.
In addition to the workshop, he also opened a showroom and gallery in 2012 at the same address. It is open year around by appointment.