Friday, July 16, 2010
Pass a cool hour at Gleason Public Library’s “Summer Salon”
A few local residents openly admit to taking a break from the summer heat by visiting the Gleason Library and enjoying a quiet hour among the latest literature and up-to-date air-conditioning. A leisurely stroll of the art exhibit at the Gleason entitled “Summer Salon” can complement that library visit for those looking to learn about current artistic trends in a peaceful and relaxing way. Andrea Urban, curator for the Art at the Gleason program for almost a decade, calls the show “one of the best to date.”
“They are full of vision,” said Urban of the three artists displaying work in the exhibit. The pieces at the library are for sale by the artists, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the library. The show features the work of Carlisle sculptor Janie Rogoff, Concord painter Jerry Wedge and Lexington printmaker Gillian Ross and will run until September 4.
Urban found the style of the artists very complementary, and added that – although the three had never met before – they all worked well together “in art and in person” which facilitated organizing the show and installing it quickly and easily. You can decide for yourself by meeting the artists at a reception on Wednesday, July 21, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Reshaping one artist’s direction
Rogoff, a town resident for 22 years who lives on Rodgers Road, has worked in sculpture for the past 6 years. She originally comes from Philadelphia where she began her work as an artist in watercolor and oils. After relocating to the Boston area, she attended courses at Harvard University and the DeCordova Museum where she developed and focused her talent on sculptures devoted to the human figure.
Rogoff currently belongs to the West Concord Sculpture Studio. There she collaborates with other artists in hiring models and sharing critiques. The artist has also created very large pieces requiring the building of “armatures,” or structural support, for more than 300 lbs. of clay. She uses a ladder to reach the top parts when creating these huge sculptures.
To summarize a long and highly detailed process, Rogoff begins her depiction of a human model in clay, transports the piece to a casting studio in Woburn, and makes plaster molds of the clay. She uses the mold to fashion the sculpted piece with materials such as bronze and fiberglass resin. She then applys patina to the finished piece.
Rogoff avoids depicting the faces or human figures in her sculptures too realistically. There’s an alluring abstraction in her pieces. She embraces the “rough feeling” that results from her sculptor’s technique in “expressing shadow as well as form.”
Don’t be tempted to identify the visage of a Carlisle neighbor you think you see among the pieces on display at the library. Rogoff uses only professional models.
Creating art with building blocks
Wedge, trained as a professional architect and actively involved in the community of Concord, added painting to his resume a year and a half ago. He runs his own architectural practice, specializing in residential design, and has served as a member and chair of the Concord and Concord-Carlisle school committees for the past seven years and as a member of the recently formed CCHS Building Committee. Many mornings, however, you can find him painting in studio #317 at the Emerson Umbrella.
The artist specializes in painting oil on individual panels, and then applies his architectural yearning to build by putting a few or more of the related blocks together in a finished piece. Recently he has found he prefers to work with all the panels of a piece at the same time.
He views the piece as “a collection of color, texture, rhythm, and proportion.” From a distance, a piece looks as four panels of complementary shades arranged together, but upon closer inspection one can find markings and etchings on the pieces, enriching each one. Some of the marks extend over adjoining panels.
Showing his architectural background when hanging his pieces in the library, he placed two complementary panels on opposing pillars of the central library stairwell. The pieces look as if they were created specifically to hang at the Gleason.
Most of the pieces have multiple layers. After adding a layer, Wedge sometimes scrapes a part off. He builds the pieces in what he calls “telling a story.” The title of his most recent work often gives an idea of the theme of a piece, such as Barn Beams, Forest Pond, and Green Shoes. Wedge calls his work “abstract” but by providing a piece with a name, he gives the viewer a hint and invitation to apply imagination to unravel the tale being told. By building in blocks and inviting people to piece together his stories from the layers he presents, Wedge has applied the inspiration in his professional career as an architect – as well as a clever application of his own last name.
New world inspires an artist
Trained in English and education, Ross came to New England from London in 2005. She took courses at the DeCordova and the Museum of Fine Arts, and quickly developed her talent in the area of printmaking, specifically in the area of nature. She says the medium appeals for many reasons, including the endless possibilities for experimentation, the many and varied techniques, and not least, the element of surprise. She explains that when peeling paper off of a press “the printmaker never knows exactly what to expect. And on a good day, that is half the fun!”
Ross works at studio 12B at the Munroe Center for the Arts in Lexington. She has participated in over a dozen group shows over the past four years. She had a solo show called “Cross Purpose” at the Grace Chapel Art Gallery in Lexington. She has many affiliations with artists’ groups, including the Lexington Painters Guild, the Cambridge Art Association, and MGNE (Monotype Guild of New England).
Ross brings a fascination with color and texture to her pieces. Layering and multiple passes through the press leave parts of her images raised, and the combination of this technique with color give the viewer the sense that flowers are literally bursting from the confines of a canvas. Her work spans the course of the year with a nod to winters past. But the focus is on the bright and inviting shades of warmer weather. Ross embraces nature, and shows blossoms in fields rather than in gardens. Her work kindly transports the Carlisle patron out of the Gleason library and into the open space of nature, without the haze and the heat of our recent summer days. ∆
© 2010 The Carlisle Mosquito