JANE SAUER GALLERY is proud to present “HARBINGERS”by Adrian Arleo. She is a star in the world of sculpture without reaching for fame. Her attention comes strictly from talent, passion and an enormous awareness of the world around her. Her home and studio are in rural Montana located at the base of the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness with Lolo Creek running through. Arleo states, “Having lived and worked in rural Montana for nearly twenty years, my sculpture springs from a deep sense of connection to the natural world and its cycles. My focus has been on environmental, psychological and spiritual concerns, communicated via both ancient and contemporary imagery. With a background in anthropology, and a strong connection to my Italian heritage, I'm often drawn to images from mythology and ancient belief systems.”
The “Awareness Series” consists of animal forms such as a squirrel and a badger. The surface of each is covered both with eyes closed and startlingly wide open. Other than this one quite unusual feature, the animals are realistic and placed in a natural environment. The eyes are compelling and magnetic. Are we being watched or are these each a portal to the interior of the animal? Portals to the interior frequent Arleo's work, each suggesting complex concepts.
Her sculpture “Veil” is another in a series using curly twig like construction to partially obscure an internal experience. Arleo sees this series refering to "Our bodies are screens, veiling and obscuring our inner experience from others. She notes that “Where I live, I see wild and domestic animals moving beyond trunks and branches, discover bird and wasp nests that were hidden all summer, see houses beyond that also obscure the life inside them. In “Veil” I was interested in carving the torso to suggest branches in a screen like way. “Inside “Veil” is a gold leafed couple embracing. “An embrace can hold so many meanings -- desire, acceptance, love, longing, attachment.”
The BA image, a bird's body with a human face, has appeared in Arleo's work for many years. Her first discovery of this was in an Egyptian exhibition almost ten years ago. After recently seeing another bird/human form at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, interest in the form was rekindled. In this exhibit the form was called a Siren and came from the coast of Southern Italy. Arleo was immediately drawn not only to the form but to fact that it was thought to represent a protector for vulnerable points of passage.
Arleo’s studio, and the pieces she creates there, straddle the natural world and the world that man has constructed. Nature is invited in. The window sills are filled with treasures found on her rural property. Swallows nest in the eaves, her horse sneaks a look in the window of the studio, and a mouse is not considered an unwelcome intruder. The collection further contains beehives, honeycombs, abandoned bird nests, stones, twigs, shells and other bits of nature brought in for closer inspection and continuous inspiration. Arleo claims her studio to be “a kind of living structure.”
Our gallery show “HARBINGERS” consists of contemporary figurative sculpture carefully and skillfully crafted of clay with the addition of various other materials such as beeswax, encaustic and glazes. Arleo works in series with some bridging many years and being developed simultaneously. This exhibit incorporates several series.
Adrian Arleo’s sculpture is exhibited internationally, and is in numerous public and private collections, including The World Ceramic Exposition Foundation, Icheon, Korea; The Museum of Arts and Sciences, Macon, Georgia; The Racine Art Museum, Racine, WI; Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, MT; Microsoft, Seattle, WA; University of Washington, Seattle, WA; Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, MT; Gloria and Sonny Kamm Foundation, Los Angeles, CA; Ruth Kohler, Kohler, WI; and Candace Groot, Chicago, IL.
The statistics from our web site continuously rate Arleo as having the most individual viewers every year, even though she is not a frequent giver of workshops and does not teach at a university. Arleo's work is labor intensive and each piece presents its own concept so she isn't able to have many solo shows. We can conclude simply that Arleo has many admirers without her going down the frequently traveled path of intense “marketing” to achieve attention.