Jodi Colella: Loom Large

"It started at a residency in Thailand where I spent five weeks sharing a mud house with a small black scorpion who haunted the drain of my bathroom sink, occupying my thoughts and affecting my every move.  It became a curiosity how a being so small could wield so much power. 

I processed my fear of these tiny, quick-moving arachnids through stitching together my first scorpion. A transitional object. A meditation. Once home its diminutive size lacked the impact of the experience inspiring my second version, and expanding the conversation beyond the personal.  

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Stinger looms larger than life. Its lacy exoskeleton crafted from found doilies suggests a history of needlework and domesticity that is left ambiguous. Dyed black and collaged into a mosaic of patterns, they now form the permeable body of a creature feared for its venomous sting and quick shift from repose to attack.

With a weaver’s sensitivity to the balance of tradition and innovation, I use needlework to give renewed power to craft traditions often glossed as feminine. Found objects – the everyday and invisible – are also put on a pedestal for scrutiny. The psychological is made physical in the way that one form materializes from another."

-Jodi Colella

March 2018: Focus on Julia Shepley

"My mobile sculpture and woodblock print series explore the theme of relocation and resettlement as a universal, physical, and personal part of human history and experience. Inspired by personal experiences, I layer imagery created with fabric, paper, wire and wood to convey a multi-layered sense of place, belonging and time.

I recently completed a two week residency in the letterpress studio at Penland School of Craft in NC, working on woodblock and photopolymer relief prints. I stitch, collage, and layer the prints dimensionally to make unique works and to generate sculptural ideas about space and form.

Currently, I am collaborating with the Scottish/American poet Audrey Henderson, working from shared conversations about the places, imagery and language that trigger our imaginations and working processes. Some of these works will be in the exhibit “Breath and Matter: Artists and Poets at Boston Sculptors Gallery” July 18- August 12 2018.  As part of this collaboration I have begun making shaped, layered and stitched paper reliefs with printmaking and sculptural techniques and intend to incorporate fabricated metal and wood elements."

-Julia Shepley

What do we accumulate looking at quiet matter when it is sunlit. 

My sinews are worshipful, my blood full of happy oxygen

From “Morning” by Audrey Henderson

 Julia Shepley, Lightshadow Corner 2018

Julia Shepley, Lightshadow Corner 2018

I can tell you that the road is gone. I can tell you

that the houses are gone, and the gas station, but you will

not understand until you step on the tarmac and it crumbles

from “Terminus” by Audrey Henderson

 Julia Shepley, Love/Labor 2017

Julia Shepley, Love/Labor 2017

Art review by by Keith Powers of WBUR  in North Shore Sunday Magazine : Julia Shepley presents thought-provoking series of small works at Montserrat

 Migrant #3’ by Julia Shepley; Woodcut collage, stitching on paper and fabric

Migrant #3’ by Julia Shepley; Woodcut collage, stitching on paper and fabric

Ten apparently simple woodcut collages are enough to tell a story.

Julia Shepley’s “Sequential Prints,” on view now at Montserrat College of Art’s Schlosberg Gallery, seem at first glance to be quiet, monochromatic studies. Nocturnal in temperament, almost entirely blue/black with only hints of yellow or brown, these small works are mixed media: collaged wood cut prints, gently layered with paper, stitching, and diaphanous mesh fabric.

The images are not figurative, but not entirely abstract either. Call it gestural. Some hints recur: landscapes along the water — a dock, a boat, a jetty — sometimes a residence, most of it with a temporary feeling.

There are no human figures. The hangings — all small — have three dimensions, but they’re not architectural. The gauze that creates depth only enhances the surface, not building on it

Despite the title there is no sequence, at least not a directly narrative one. Most of the works come from her “Migrant” series — #1, #2, etc., not in order — with the expansive political implications that title implies, but without any further overt exploration into the theme.

Meaning falls secondarily to the artistic quality. These works are gorgeously, intentionally crafted, rich in visual interest. Many three-dimensional hanging works inhabit a halfway-house of artistic intention — not quite seeming like paintings, not looking like sculpture either. These works feel organic — like they could not be anything else but what they are.

The search for meaning, though not directly offered, is still irresistible. The temporary quality of the structures in some of the Migrant series can be quickly recognized: summer homes, cottages on stilts, unmoored boats, abandoned jetties to nowhere. An unfocused feeling to the images also creates a mood.

The stitched gauze casts shadows on the back surface — shadows that become another medium, like the woodcut print, or the paper, or the stitching. Intentionally marking the surface, the shadows etch their way into the visual plane, obscuring the background, but also adding to its texture.

The nocturnal quality — just hinted at — coupled with the lack of human presence, and the dark inked hues of the woodcuts, is either peaceful or unsettling, depending solely on the viewer.

Shepley teaches as an adjunct at Montserrat, works in Somerville’s Brickbottom Building, and is represented by the Boston Sculptors Gallery. Her earlier works — some have been seen locally at the Rocky Neck Cultural Center, in a previous Montserrat group show, and at the Decordova, as well as many Boston and area galleries — embrace sculpture, drawing, prints, and mobiles, some overlapping.

The Schlosberg Gallery — really just a hallway — can be a terrific venue to take in a small show. Especially like this, when a small show has a lot to say.

 

Upcoming exhibitions currently include:

Boston Sculptors Gallery, Boston MA, Breath and Matter, Poetry and Sculpture exhibition (July-August 2018)

2018-Trustman Gallery, Simmons College, Boston MA, Solo exhibition of sculpture and prints (September-October 2018);

2019- Boston Sculptors Gallery. Boston, MA, Solo exhibit (May-June 2019)

 

Recent exhibits include:

Chandler Gallery, Cambridge MA, “Prints as Sculpture”, Sculptural prints

Boston Sculptor’s Gallery, Boston MA, “HeArt”, Sculpture

Carol Schlosberg Alumni Gallery, Montserrat College of Art, Beverly, MA, “Julia Shepley, Sequential Prints”

Cotuit Center for the Arts, Cotuit, MA, “Marking time, 70th Anniversary of the Boston Printmakers”

Wheaton Biennial, Norton, MA, “Printmaking Reimagined”

New England Biolabs, “Explorations”, prints

Boston Sculptors Gallery, “Love/Lust” Sculpture drawing, prints

Decordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln MA, “The Sculptor’s Eye, Prints Drawings and Photographs from the Collection”

Andy Zimmermann: Rebar

" I have been surprised by how many people have wanted to tell me that they, or their son, or father or brother, have spent some part of their lives doing construction work. They seem really pleased to have their contributions to our city, our world, be recognized. Even as they acknowledge that buildings are not permanent, that sooner or later they come down, and are replaced, that this is an endeavor that involves vast numbers of people in one capacity or another."

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"I have also felt that I got something right when I stumbled onto the title of my exhibit, 'Rebar.' The word itself seems to conjure some strong feelings for a lot of people. They seem to like saying it. 'Rebar…Rebar'. "

-Andy Zimmermann

August 2017: Focus on Andy Moerlein

"I have enjoyed a very lively summer. I created a new piece for a show I curated with BSG colleague Donna Dodson, I organized a reading in my gallery in Anchorage by Alaska writer Laureate Ernestine Hayes, I went to Denmark for the Ringkobing International Wood Carving Symposium and I recently completed a month residency at the National Museum for Marine Science and Technology in Keelung, Taiwan, creating another Avian Avatar with Donna Dodson under our collaborative entity The Myth Makers.

 Installation at Art Complex Museum

Installation at Art Complex Museum

So why co-curate a major exhibition, Wood as Muse at the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury MA. with Donna Dodson?

Researching and selecting artists allowed me entry into the lives and studios of artists I admire. It made me think deeply about my affection for and lifelong connection to wood. It was an opportunity to create a community of twelve artists who mostly did not know each other.

How did an engagement with Alaska Writer Laureate Ernestine Hayes come about? I had never met her, but had been reading her books with enthusiasm. I knew she would be in Anchorage for a workshop the week I was visiting. My Alaska gallery, blue.hollomon gallery often hosts readings, and always an event when Donna Dodson and I are in town. Ernestine had a new book and was eager to read. It was a warm synergy of meeting and shared work – a perfect intersection of her fans and ours.

 Alaska Writer Laureate Ernestine Hayes with Andy Moerlein

Alaska Writer Laureate Ernestine Hayes with Andy Moerlein

What is an international wood carving symposium and why Ringkobing, Denmark? A wood symposium brings together an elite selection of the world’s best wood sculptors to carve monumental logs in a brief period of time. This is performance sculpture in rare form. The art making process is laid bare to daily observation, bark-on log to finished surfaces.

 

Ringkobing invited twelve artists to this short week-long event. The skill level was uniformly evident. These artists knew shape and understood how to create it. We had great accommodations at a local hotel, an endless stream of meals featuring the many ways this harbor town prepares and serves fish: fried, baked, smoked, poached, spicy, salted, hot, cold etc, tours to nearby sights and places of community pride, and many fun evenings with local supporters and our fellow sculptors.

 

Ringkobing is an ideal symposium location. The city is celebrated internationally for it’s fjord harbor, fish restaurants and markets and tourism. The symposium is a summer highlight that is visited by hundreds of visitors daily. A grassy acre overlooking the harbor provided the perfect background for chainsaws, tourists, sunshine, sawdust and photos with sailboats in the background. The Director Otto Pilgaard is a superhuman organizer who has earned deep respect and affection from town leaders, businesses and the world sculpture community.

 

Why not Boston?! We have the arts focus, tourist volume and necessary business value. We have a dozen great possible sites I can think of.

 Work by Andy Moerlein at the International Woodcarving Symposium, Ringkobing Denamrk

Work by Andy Moerlein at the International Woodcarving Symposium, Ringkobing Denamrk

Next stop? Taiwan! A jungle coated mountainous country with a dynamic economy and vivid culture, Taiwan is diligently seeking to focus education and attention on their precious ocean environment. My invitation there was as team Myth Makers. Working with Donna Dodson we were invited to make another of our monumental “Avian Avatars”. The theme of the residency was Making Connections. We built one of a series of globe embracing sculptures addressing ocean health and the sustainability of this vital world resource. Connecting harbor cities our first Widow’s Walk debuted in New Bedford MA and wsa followed by the Interpid Albatross in Keelung. Please see the following Youtube video to see how this project culminated."

 Widow's Walk, New Bedford Massachusetts USA

Widow's Walk, New Bedford Massachusetts USA

 Intrepid Albatross, National Museum of Marie Science and Technology, Keelung Taiwan

Intrepid Albatross, National Museum of Marie Science and Technology, Keelung Taiwan

-Andy Moerlein

Christina Zwart: Pussy Tower

"One of the best things about this project was the involvement of my sons, ages 15 and 18. My older one went with me to the Women's March in Washington, and both of them were heavily involved -- from listening ad nauseum to the word "pussy" to gracing the gallery walls with their sentiments about our commander-in-chief."

"I went to an all-women's college and, had I had girls, it would have been a given that they would grow up as feminists in our house. It's not as expected with boys, and I've felt an added responsibility to make sure my sons treat women with respect. Just like the proud mom I saw at the march whose young son was holding a sign that read, "Even I know how to keep my tiny hands to myself," I love calling my young men the "F word."

-Christina Zwart

Chris Abrams: Orifice and Oculi

The objects in ‘Orifice and Oculi’ are heavily influenced by the time I spend with my boys, aged four and seven.  

 

Of course, we spend a lot of time together looking at and playing with toys and games and cartoons, but I’m also interested in the way children invest those images and objects with lives of their own.  

 

The objects in ‘Orifice and Oculi’ grew from a realization that I also imagine life invested in physical things, and the details I include speak to the idea of the objects ‘looking back’ at us with internal lives of their own.

-Chris Abrams

April 2017: Focus on Michelle Lougee

"Cynthia Switzer Ross and Anne Marie Crotty, directors of Flatrocks Gallery in Gloucester will be visiting my studio in April to select works. I will be exhibiting with Resa Blatman, Adin Murray and Mia Cross from May 25-July 2. The exhibition is entitled In Deep Water and will be focused on our relationship to nature and our impact on it ... particularly the sea. Included in the exhibit will be selections from my crochet plastic sea creatures, barnacles, and other works inspired by the plight of our oceans.”

-Michelle Lougee

http://www.flatrocksgallery.com/