As the title of the show implies, the March exhibition at Seager Gray Gallery has as its focus, materials – glass, wood, thread, buttons, clay, steel, books, paper. We are interested in how artists interact with and master their materials and how the materials themselves matter as an essential part of the content of the work. We find that we are drawn to works in which artists use their medium as a means of communication. Like all galleries, as we became more established, our own direction began to define itself attracting artists of like mind. Certainly our focus on book-related works gave us a broader understanding of how a harmonic chord can be struck when form and content are in perfect harmony. That aesthetic understanding has extended itself more broadly to all works of art and we had a clear purpose in putting together this March exhibition.
In Lisa Kokin’s Primary, the use of thread as a medium is more than just a means to an end. The material itself is easily associat- ed with connection, fragility and the tender thread that is bro-
ken when a loved one is gone. An earlier work, Piecework unites imitation sinew with buttons and household materials, giving clues to the history and character of the subject. Similarly, there is a rich source of communication in the clay sculpture of Richard Shaw, the glass teardrops of Sibylle Peretti and the sharp contrast between the toughness of steel and ephemeral quality of gathered book pages in the sculpture of Andrew Hayes. Two of the artists, Jacqueline Rush Lee and Jody Alexander use books as their prima- ry material. Lee’s sculptures focus on the book as her medium and archetypal form. Alexander’s works reveal her love of the book as an aesthetic object, enduring through time.
The collaborative works by artists Joe and Will Brubaker utilize their vast collection of discarded materials from old houses and furniture to make new configurations that set carved figures in abstract environments that speak of time and endurance. In Fragile Password, Gyöngy Laky constructs the word “Yes” from ash cut- tings and commercial wood, suggesting that concepts and words have their own architecture – an architecture built on historical meanings and mutual understandings (or misunderstandings).
Stephen Paul Day’s cast bronze piece, Twin Daggers contrasts the cold bronze and primal weaponry with the innocence of the twin girls holding their dolls on the handles - particularly poignant during these days of weaponry and child violence. Tim Tate’s work, La Généalogie de la Littérature features both blown and cast glass in a reliquary of artifacts from the world of printing – books, typewriters and pencils topped with an old typewriter eraser. Here again, the material has the possibility of protecting, while remain- ing eminently breakable. Emily Payne’s New Crop, an installation of wire “seed” sculptures hangs as 3 dimensional drawings in space and Veva Edelson plays with the idea of “figurines” and mythology in her exquisitely crafted porcelain works.
Finally, there is the toughness of nails and steel in the sculpture of Maya Whitner and the fragility of paper napkins in the com- pelling drawings of Club S & S (a collaboration between artists Sibylle Peretti and Stephen Paul Day) in their mysterious Suicide Notes.
Materials matter. Whether forged or cast, stitched, drawn, welded or painted, these artists repeatedly interact with their materials until they develop a keen understanding of how they behave. It is in that process that each finds their own means of expression and identity as an artist.