In The Woods
In The Woods: Syntheses from Scraps to Sculpture
I’m thrilled to be the new Curator at the Oyster Point Hotel,” says Red Bank resident Ellen Martin. “My goals are to bring in as many artists as possible, and to show work in as many different media as possible. My inaugural exhibit, “In The Woods” will show the work of five talented artists who work in wood.”
Painters work with a medium that is soft and pliable. They create colors with a simple swish. Their brush is an extension of their hands, and follows every move they make. Artists who work with wood work in a medium that is hard. Their colors can be limited to what nature or someone else did before them. They use band saws, handsaws, and sanding machines. Yet within these parameters, these five artists are able to create works as creative, evocative and ideological as any created with paint.
Jose Antonio Arvelo Delgado loves the physical challenges of working with wood, as does Laura Petrovich-Cheney, who is quietly subversive and persistent in her celebration of women by basing her designs on patchwork quilts. Michael Short achieves a serenity and calmness in his austere and disciplined pieces, while Abby Levine’s pieces are fiercely whimsical in their complex abstract patterns which incorporate much layering and etching. Amy Puccio’s work is playful while commenting on our cultural past and present.
These five creators love their medium. They ‘shop’ for their medium of choice in dumpsters, demolition sites, framing shops or in nature. Michael Short works with driftwood and values the humility of the material. Jose Antonio Arvelo Delgado thinks wood is the most incredible medium. “It is natural and beautiful every step along the way.” Amy Puccio learned her love of wood early but it wasn’t until she did a project using scraps of leftover frame moldings that she found an outlet for her inventiveness and creativity.
Laura Petrovich-Cheney’s first work inspired by patchwork quilts came about by accident after finding two wrecked crabbing boats at the shore; the next source was a demolished barn in Pennsylvania. Since then she has incorporated wood from Hurricane Sandy and many other sources into her work. Abby Levine doesn’t have to look further than her own studio. She works on commissions, which are narrative, and political in nature, and uses the scraps to create abstract pieces, which are more intuitive and less intellectual than the commissioned works. Says Abby, “This work is about the absence of control. I try not to let ego or reason predominate, I let the material sing its own song.”
All of these artists are serious creators whose work is difficult to produce and sometimes dangerous. But they persist in using the medium they love to create art. Let this exhibit be an immersive experience in what may be a new art form for you. Savor the diversity of the work, talk to the artists to learn more about their processes, and enjoy the exhibit.
Please join us for an artists’ reception on Friday, March 2nd from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Oyster Point Hotel. The event is open to the public, free of charge and will run through April 29th. The address is 146 Bodman Place, Red Bank, NJ. 07701. There is free and valet parking in the Hotel lot.
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