Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea
EXHIBITION: "It Takes Two: Collaborations by Kentucky Artisans"
A new exhibit, “It Takes Two: Collaborations by Kentucky Artisans” opens Sept. 19 at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea. This exhibit on display through Feb. 27, 2016, showcases works by 66 Kentucky artisans who have paired up to create an array of 33 collaborative works that are most unique.
By working together, collaborating artists brought a variety of skills and backgrounds into play and learned about new materials and methods of working. The idea of collaborating to create art was for many participating artists an entirely new concept and idea.
Starting with a basic or central idea artists talked and worked together to come up with a process for combining their skills. Many made new discoveries as they went along.
Catherine Logsdon and Marianne T. Burke came up with a marriage of calligraphic text and illustrative painting in their work titled “Workmanship.” Sharing a studio space made their logistics easy and much of the initial surface was created together in multiple sessions. Once the background was complete they traded the work back and forth, with Burke embellishing the final work with calligraphy and 22 carat gold leaf.
Photos, top left, clockwise: "Workmanship" by Catherine Logsdon and Marianne T. Brown; "The Sycamore Song" by Debby Stratford and Lindsay Frost; "Kentucky Afternoon Glow" by Peggy Sherry and Linda H. Gover; "Redwood Forest Floor" by Linda and Jack Fifield; "Kentucky Sovereign" by John Andrew Dixon and Robert Hugh Hunt; "Ginkgo Candelabra" by Matthew and Karine Maynard; "Walking Bridge Triptych" by Ann Klem and Patricia Brock;
Printmaker Debby Stratford and wood artist Lindsay Frost joined forces to create a work that shows their reverence for wood, trees and nature using a concave slab of wood found in the Ohio River. Carving into the wood with her printmaking gouges, Stratford created a school of swimming fish while Frost sculpted small boats and paddles from fallen tree wood.
“We found this slab of wood on the grass next to the river and we began talking about its unknown history,” Stratford said. “Our reverence for wood provided the creative surge and though we did not anticipate it – the piece is interactive.”
Technical issues were also a part of working through roadblocks in the creative process. Glass artist Ann Klem and photographer Patricia Brock created a triptych showing the “Big Four Bridge” Pedway in Louisville. Multiple test firings were required to properly fuse the photo decals and the colors in the photo image were also adjusted to work within the parameters of the decal process.
Belissa and Everette Middleton combined their textile and woodturning skills together in their work “Sober” which combines turned wood with wire and glass beads. Their technical issues involved distance.
“We have always talked about doing a collaborative piece, but just hadn’t found the time until we saw this show coming up,” Belissa said. “We had the challenge of living in two different cities. Thank goodness for smart phones and e-mail.”
Several artist pairs work within the same medium. While Peggy Sherry and Linda H. Gover are both painters, Sherry prefers to use a brush and Gover paints with a palette knife. Taking turns painting on the same canvass these artists combined the best of their skills in the oil painting, “Kentucky Afternoon Glow.”
This exhibit also features several working artist-couples whose works have always been collaborative. Folk artists Lonnie and Twyla Money took the opportunity create a portrait of themselves carving and painting birds in “Self-Taught Artists.”
Blacksmith Matthew Maynard collaborated together with his wife Karine, to forge steel and bronze into a flowing “Ginkgo Candelabra.”
As collaborative artists for over 40 years, Jack and Linda Fifield created “Redwood Forest Floor.” Having turned a redwood burl into a graceful hollow vessel, Jack then added a hand-carved neck and pedestal from contrasting wood. Linda embellished Jack’s form with an asymmetrical collar of stitched glass beads and semi-precious stones.
But don’t forget to look for whimsy and unusual sculptural works in this exhibit. Stephen Marks, a self-taught assemblage artist, creates with found materials and for this exhibit paired up with his wife Laura Marks for the first time. Joining together her fused glass and his found objects, together they created two whimsical and colorful figures, “Mad Cap Myrtle” and the kilt wearing figure, “Flashy McTrashy.”
Paducah artists Michael Terra and Char Downs have created a work that not only uses multiple materials by also plays on words in the title, “Sum of Ours,” which when spoken out loud can sound like - sum of hours, or some of ours. Floating objects sculpted from clay are suspended within a large wire framework representing the human forehead/face.
“We are hoping that the viewer looks at these floating objects as icons of the mind that are important in life.” Terra said. “Things like bread (sustenance of the body) and books (sustenance of the mind) are obvious along with other objects like windows to represent observation and doors to reference passage from one place or state to another.”
Summing up the experience, Joanne Argo states, “Collaboration is a great way to expand one’s view of creating by having input from another artist. Inspiration seems to come easily when working so closely with another artist’s creative process. It is a joyful experience and one that brings us closer together as friends and creative colleagues.”
A meet-the-artist reception for this exhibit will be held on Sept. 27, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. The exhibit runs Sept. 19, 2015 through Feb. 27, 2016.
Artists paired and working together to create the works in this exhibit include: Dobree Adams/Jonathan Greene, Frankfort; Richard Adams/Mike Angel, London; Johanna Argo/Jada Lynn Dixon, Louisville; Ann Butwell/Sarah Broomfield, Berea; Julie Warren Conn, Lexington/David Shadwick, Wilmore; Nancy DeJarnette/Stephen Sawyer, Versailles; Marlene Dennis/Deborah D. Stanley, Louisville; John Andrew Dixon, Danville/Robert Hugh Hunt, Richmond; Gweneth Dunleavy/ Deborah Levine, Louisville; Linda Fifield/Jack Fifield, McKee; Sarah Frederick/Matthew Bradley, Louisville; Alyce Grover, Eubank/Cathy Vigor, Lexington; Ellen Guyer/Ken Guyer, Lexington; Suzy Hatcher/Catherine Sar, Louisville; Vallorie Henderson/Mark Needham, Louisville; John Keeton/Daphne Seaman, Winchester; Jason Kelty, Shepherdsville/Chris Wilder, Frankfort; Ann Klem, Fisherville/Patricia Brock, Louisville; Catherine Logsdon, Lakeside Park/Marianne T. Burke, Villa Hills; Stephen Marks/Laura Marks, Owensboro; Belissa Middleton, Louisville/ Everette Middleton, Lexington; Matthew Maynard/Karine Maynard, Lawrenceburg; Lonnie Money/Twyla Money, East Bernstadt; Mary Rezny/Karen Spears, Lexington; Judy Rosenfield/Judith Egerton, Louisville; Jeff Scott/Henrietta Scott, Columbia; Michael Shambro, Lexington/Gary Bertram, Georgetown; Peggy Sherry/Linda H. Gover, Somerset; Debby Stratford/Frosty Rankin, Louisville; Michael Terra/Char Downs, Paducah; David Waltz/Page Candler, Columbia; Thomas R. Williams/Sherry Chandler, Paris; and Elizabeth Worley/Sonja Brooks, Lexington.
The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea is located at 200 Artisan Way, just off Interstate 75 at Berea Exit 77. The center’s exhibits, shopping and travel information areas are open daily, year-round, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the cafe is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.
The center currently features works by more than 700 artisans from more than 100 counties across the Commonwealth. The exhibit, “Weaving in Kentucky: A Continuing Tradition” is on display in the lobby through Nov. 14. For more information about the center’s events call 859-985-5448, visit the center’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/kentucky.artisan.center, or go to the center’s website at www.kentuckyartisancenter.ky.gov.