Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Reception for Shaping Matter 8/16

Approximately 200 people attended the opening of Shaping Matter on August 16th. This exhibition of new sculpture presents work by seven local artists whose alterations of everyday objects and materials open our eyes to beauty in the commonplace. Several pieces were constructed especially for this show. The artists took advantage of the long horizontal space of the old warehouse at Marin French Cheese Company.

Inverness artist, Peter De
Swart’s 60-foot long line of blue carpenter’s chalk, loose in a suspended wood ledge, is accompanied by wall pieces, also of wood containing blue or white chalk. His box constructions are shaped containers with compartments for the loose powdered chalk that colors the bottom of the box as it is moved for installation. The small compartments are reminiscent of old type cases or ancient containers for sacred writings. The shaped white boxes have interior steps leading to closed portals. In these the white chalk falls down the steps. De Swart makes sculpture with “its back against the wall. Matter without form. Powder, heaped, thrown, settling…the play of form against formlessness.” Yet these quiet forms evoke places such as Egypt or New York tenements. Also change, chalk is soft as ash.

Joe Fox, Fairfax artist, also works with suspended and extended lines. He creates drawings in space by wrapping and coloring undulating hose like materials. His studies of the nature of vision and his interest in contradictory forces inform his work. Balance Organ is a black rubber horizontally undulating circular line the diameter of a python that is suspended on steel pipes anchored to the floor. Neurotic Gesture is a wrapped garden hose colored with iron oxide pigment that powders the floor. This piece is suspended so that the undulation is in the vertical dimension. The line is a representation of the color of hemoglobin and refers to the iron our blood.

Madeline Nieto Hope
from Inverness, uses the trussed ceiling as well for two suspended multi-element pieces, one closed and one open in form. Wide white cotton strips form an opaque square. Lines of rubber
castings from paint lids form an open screen. The round castings have subtle colors from the mix of pigments in the lids used for the casting. The square comes up again in the framed boxed garments of Arianne Dar, Bolinas artist, that somehow echo the pallets of boxes in the rear of the warehouse. Outside Dar shows a white painted steel construction of an open box form that sits on the grass like a big lawn couch. Other works in and about the pond are the floating buoy gatherings by Madeline Hope and the wind sculptures by Rebecca Hazeltine from San Francisco. Fishing poles fly cast bird bones from her Estuary Series, honoring migratory birds.

On the path to the gallery there is a tower of altered books by Tim Graveson. This Inverness artist uses library discards. He takes stacks of sized, color, or thematically ordered books to his favorite places in Marin where he photographs them in the landscape. Inside the gallery there is a display of stacks and photographs and a short video explaining the artist’s process. Single words from each book’s title are printed on the ends of the book covers. Reading down a black stack, some of the words are: talk, story, act, poison, purple, enigma, underworld, timeline, and highways. On the sides the artist has stamped REUSE. A more traditional human element is provided by the carved driftwood sculptures of Cloverdale artist Carol Setterlund. Lazarus, on a wheeled platform at the gallery’s entrance, invites you to see new sculptures. Setterlund’s oversized heads and faces top circular and block columns with extensions of railroad spikes, wire, or giant hands. They are a perfect fit to the rustic character of the old warehouse gallery.

The Inverness curators of Shaping Matter, Mary Mountcastle Eubank and Zea Morvitz have organized a rare opportunity for viewin
g a group of large, inventive works by coastal artists. Fri-Sun, 11-4 through November 29

Excerpt from article by Claudia Chapline published September 3, 2009 issue of West Marin Citizen