Our November show combines the artistic expressions of sculptor, Penelope Dews, and original oil paintings by Danna Tartaglia. Penelope is known for her uniquely beautiful Anagama wood-fired ceramic pottery, inspired by forms from nature, animals, architecture, ancient artifacts and dream images. Danna’s oil paintings capture the fluid motions and spirit of animal life, revealing the soul in the eyes and expressions of her subjects.
Penelope Dews Bear
Penelope Dews started making pottery as a child and eventually graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1984 with a BFA in Ceramic Sculpture. A fifth generation from the Rogue Valley, she returned to live here 12 years ago and has been teaching Ceramics for the past eleven years.
Her 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 her get a feel for the direction the work is going.
For this show, many of the sculptures were fired in an Anagama kiln (cave or tunnel kiln). This is an ancient technique for firing pottery, with fewer 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.
The kiln is a long, low, and built on the side of a slope. The doorway is about 4 feet high. The pieces are placed inside the kiln on wadding, small daubs of clay that protect the pieces from sticking to the kiln floor during the firing. The kiln is warmed up slowly during the first night and is brought up to temperatures of 2,350 degrees F in over a hundred hours of firing. Fire traveling in an Anagama kiln has often been described as a river with the pieces being stones in the river. As the river travels between the “stones” it continually deposits ash on the clay, which accumulates and ultimately becomes a glaze.
Each firing is as unpredictable as it is exciting. Firing an Anagama is more than merely a technique for 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.
Danna Tartaglia Rainbow Up Creek
Danna Tartaglia has been exhibiting her artwork professionally since 2004 when she moved from a small town in Nevada and found her joy in the artistic support and acceptance of her paintings in southern Oregon.
Typical themes in her paintings tend to be impressionistic animal life: Horses, Buffalo, Bears, Ravens, and one she comes back to again and again are the Fish. Paintings of colorful Japanese Koi in a garden pond, or Rainbow Trout in a clear stream, she loves painting the fluid motion of fish in water.
Danna enjoys the challenge of capturing motion and animal spirit on her canvases, and she manages to reveal the soul of the animal in the eyes and expressions in her paintings.
Having exhibited in galleries and businesses locally and around Oregon as well as on the east coast, Danna is now affiliated with Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale Arizona. For the past few years she has been the manager of a gallery in Jacksonville, Oregon and is very pleased to be an exhibiting artist with Illahe Studios and Gallery.