Susan Springer The Burden of Bounty
Join us in August as we host our Sixth Annual Sculpture Invitational. This exhibit features the 3-dimensional work of nine talented Oregon sculptors showcasing their varied forms, media and techniques in a diversely spectacular display!
Gallery owner, Susan Springer, shows her latest creations in clay, along with the work of: Penelope Dews; Anagama wood-fired ceramic, Cheryl Williams; steel and clay, Margie Mee and Sam Campbell; recycled metal, Katy Cauker; ceramic & acrylic, Norman Ernsting; ceramic vessels, Rip Caswell; bronze, and the late Lewis Lytal; recycled metal.
Cheryl Williams P laying Around
Cheryl Williams became interested in creating artwork in 1975 through an introduction to clay. Today her art is available in a variety of mediums which include: clay, paintings and stone sculpture. Williams was born in California and now resides in Ashland, Oregon.
“The energy that comes thru my heart and into my hands stirs great passion in me. The light that is within in all of us is reflected in my work. Bringing essence into form, I make the ordinary appear extraordinary. My work is simple and elegant. It gives me great pleasure to share this with you.”
Norman Ernsting Blue Bottles
The ceramic artifacts of ancient civilizations have inspired much of my work and I often use them as points of departure for my ceramic sculpture. These ancient images include Neolithic animals, Stone Age idols, libation vessels, goddess figures and ceremonial masks.
Recently I saw some unusual vessels with sculptured stoppers created by Leza McVey, an American studio potter who worked in the 1940’s. She was one of the first ceramic artists to use asymmetric vessel forms. Her work has the same universal and timeless appeal as the ancient images I so admire. I hope my sculptured ceramic vessels, inspired by Ms. McVey, are a tribute to her and her work.
Each piece is hand-built with stoneware clay and treated with oxides and stains before firing to cone four in an electric kiln. I sometimes add a copper, bronze or iron coating after the firing. Chemicals are then applied to the metal surface, resulting in a patina with a time-weathered look, like ancient relics of the past.
Margie Mee and Sam Campbell Charles and Emma
I moved to Ashland ten years ago, and purchased a piece of paradise on five acres outside of town. “There is no place like home” and I have truly found it living here.
Having always considered my life as art, being next to nature has helped me define what “makes me tick” when it comes to creating. At first I painted, inspired by the landscapes all around me. I began to feel very much a part of this land, and knew that we were connected in a way that I had never imagined living in the city. My work reflected what I saw in Nature, and the animals I was living with on the land. Soon I decided not to frame, or use glass. I used whatever I found in the streets or what was thrown away, I mixed my mediums. I wanted to feel free from what was “expected” or often taught, and didn’t want my work to be “preserved” or “precious”.
In nature, you and I have a birth, live our lives, and eventually experience death. My work reflects that same process, with a bit of whimsy thrown in to give spice! Life does, after all require a sense of humor!
Earlier, I painted furniture, and found I really got excited painting around and under chairs, loved sticking found objects on my paintings. I was attempting to make things look three-dimensional. Somehow using perspective was like telling a lie, because it wasn’t real. Three-dimensional work seemed closer to reality for me.
Eventually, I realized my medium would be sculpture. I was delighted when Sam Campbell decided to join me, a little over three years ago. We began to create metal sculpture from old tools and farm implements; some have been hand forged and all of them are beautiful to me. I love recycling “junk” that has been discarded, and welding them into my idea of ART!
We have done birds; capturing their movement as they “take off”. Have loved making things that our metal pieces seem to suggest to us. We do accept commissions when our vision and the clients have something in common that seems irresistible!
After I retired in 1990, I went from art appreciation, dabbling in various art classes and serving on a number of art boards, to actively trying to find an art form that I wanted to excel in. I became interested in metal related arts. I started print making from copper plates. I enjoyed this but became more interested in metal sculpture. At first, I focused on useable art, principally tables. This worked for me because my wife is an excellent mosaic artist, and we did tables with mosaic tops. From there I went on to more whimsical items like life sized animal bands! This was followed by more serious pieces illustrated by a very large sculpture of three whooping cranes now located at the National Wildlife Refuge in Necedah Wisconsin.
In 2000, my wife and I moved to the Rogue Valley from the Twin Cities. This decision was partially based on the vibrant art community we found here. We were told to lookup Margie Mee as an involved artist in this area. That was fortunate for us.
At this time, I am concentrating on collaborating with Margie Mee on metal and mixed media sculpture. I am particularly interested in working on commissions that meet the interests of the client.
Lewie Lytal Vain Rider
Lewis (Lewie) Lytal of Pistol River, Oregon created many metal sculptures and paintings for over 20 years, until his passing in 2001.
By trade he was a stone mason, known for his artistically built fireplaces, stone and tile work throughout Curry County. All his free time was spent making art, creating many whimsical metal sculptures and hundreds of two-dimensional works on paper and canvas.
Lytal had few exhibits in his life, with much of his works selling since his passing. Only a single garden sized metal sculpture reflecting his sense of humor and wry outlook on the world remains, along with several large bold abstracts on canvas. These final pieces are offered exclusively at Illahe Studios and Gallery.
Penelope Dews Raven
For this show, sculptures were fired in an Anagama kiln (cave or tunnel kiln.) It is an ancient technique for firing pottery, with less than ten of these kilns in Oregon. These pieces were produced over the last year and fired in two Anagama kilns, in Elkton OR and Junction City OR.
Each firing is as unpredictable as it is exciting. Firing an Anagama is more than merely an aim at creating unique and beautiful pottery. It is in great part a community event. Many hands handle the thousands of pieces of wood that go into the kiln. The successes are due to the energy of the group. Participants cook and eat together as well as work shifts around the clock.
Penelope’s sculptures are built in a modified coil technique allowing clay to be moved quickly. Once the material is in place the main shape is formed, animals and handles are added. Then the subtractive method is used, carving away material to define the details. Sometimes “sketching” loosely on the piece, helps one get a feel for the direction the work is going.
Animals, architecture, ancient artifacts, natural forms and dream images are the themes of the pots. Often forms are combined. The large pots are great stages for the animals to interact on.