Friday, October 26, 2007

Common Ground: Works by Jerry Gates

Common Ground: Works by Jerry Gates
November 3 - December 31, 2007

"Third Thursday" Artist Reception on November 15 from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.

At Gallery Fifty, we are really excited and proud to present a comprehensive showing of Jerry Gates' work. The show consists of both framed representational and abstract mixed media paintings. Over seventy-five pieces will by on display and available for viewing on-line at

Jerry has been an experimental artist for many years because of his fascination with light and color, surface and texture, subject matter and form. His deep belief in the Jungian premise of a "collective consciousness" has inspired him to create content that will be inwardly understood. His aim has been to take the viewer past the obvious to discover that which lies beyond the surface, with an intangible, but deep understanding of his or her own personal aesthetics.

Jerry holds a Master of Fine Arts degree. He has been an Assistant Professor of Art at Central Michigan University and is currently Adjunct Professor of Art, Northwestern Michigan College.

Artist Statement:
My work, I suspect, is a product of Jungian psychology and familiarity with things past and present. Not unlike the Romantics of the 18th Century, I have attempted to capture both the beautiful and the sublime, something fleeting but still in stasis, something inwardly understood in a universal sense. It is this collective consciousness that I try to tap, a soul tweeking, if you will; this "I think I have been there before" or experienced "this" before.

Someone once said "Art is a lie that enables us to see the truth." When one unearths what is beneath their own aesthetic, they become enlightened to the infinite possibilities of the creative endeavor.

It has been my goal to represent this philosophy by testing my curiosity in different media and subject matter. This has helped me to codify my own existence as silent observer, participant and explorer.

Fiber as inspiration for glass

Alaska artist Tamara Johannes is a multi-media artist who has worked clay, metal, fiber and most recently warm glass. She creates these great handcrafted, kiln-fired, dichroic glass barrettes. They make wonderful gifts of "wearable" art.

Tamera was originally a hot glass beadmaker, but then she began experimenting with the art of fusing glass as a way of combining torch work components into more complex glass jewelry. Using dichroic glass has become one of her trademarks.

Early work in fiber and clay were instrumental in forming a basis for work with glass. Many of her designs have elements of her original quilt work and patterns.

3" barrettes are $24; 4" are $28. We also carry Tamera's earrings and brooches. Come into Gallery Fifty to see our current color/ pattern selection: 800 Cottageview Drive, Suite 50, Traverse City, Michigan 49684.

Leaving our shell behind

The world we live in, even where we have made a mess of it, is full of incredible sights. Tennessee artist Jennifer Adair believes that art should make us pause in our rush to wherever we are supposed to be. "Art should make us remember to be alive right here, right now," she says. "Art should help us see the world we live in."

Jennifer is fascinated by how hard people work in order to make things that look like they were made by something other than a human. "It takes a mollusk to make a nautilus shell. Humans use computers to create fractal images; wind does it with some sand. An agate, a sunset, a butterfly wing: our imperfect copies, whether of manmade stone or canvas and paint, require great effort on our part."

So her glass is about color and light, texture and pattern. And if she really gets it right, an explorer from some other world would wonder, when he looks at her work, what creature had left his shell behind.

Gallery Fifty carries her fused dichroic glass frames and triangle plates. Frames run $42 - $48; Plates are $75 - $95. Call for our current selection: 231-932-0775.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fun and 'folky'

Pennsylvania artist Ed Brownlee creates functional, joyful ceramics often referencing art history, folk art and cartoons. He creates with the collector in mind. "My pieces are ambassadors of enjoyment and individuality," he says.

His ceramics are wheel thrown stoneware and fired to cone 6. Ed formulates his own glazes and overglazes utilizing a “majolica” technique of overglaze decoration, but at a higher temperature. Ed received his BFA from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1985; MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1987.

Gallery Fifty carries Ed's jars, casserole dishes, teapots and plates. We love his double-sided face cups. Contact us for our current selection: 231-932-0775.

Tiles for the nature enthusiast

Ceramic artist Leif Spörck creates these incredible stonewear tiles with themes dear to any northern Michigan resident. Nature, botanicals, fish and wildlife — each with his unique design and glaze color.

Leif's tiles are approximately 5" x 5" and have a hole on the back for hanging. They are for indoor/ outdoor use. Gallery Fifty always has a great selection of his work. They make great "guy gifts" and are popular with collectors.

Spörck Tileart was founded by Leif Spörck. Being the son of accomplished ceramic artists, Leif has had his hands in clay since he was 2 years old. After receiving his pre-law degree from Hope College in Holland, Michigan, Leif decided to pursue his desire to design and produce a line of artistic ceramic tiles that would reflect his love of the natural environment. He decided to design a line of tiles that represent his perceptions of the colorful wildlife, the blue waters, the verdant farms and the various and beautiful locations that surround him.

Rediscovering the old; Creating the new

Tennessee artist Paula Mealka enjoys experimenting with dfferent art elements to create interesting, fun and sometimes functional fused glass work.

Fused glass can be subtle, elegant and often bold in color, shape, texture and design. Her work continuously changes and matures as she discovers new methods and skills. Paula uses many traditional fused glass techniques, but she also loves to make things up as she goes and by doing so, creating something new and wonderful. "Of course, this reckless abandon sometimes leads to disaster," she says. "But more often then not, it adds an interesting touch to my work."

She works with deep in glass (1/2-1 inch), creating pieces with depth and texture. One of the methods Paula incorporates into her work is taking glass to a very high temperature and when it is molten, combing a design through it. She also enjoys weaving glass stringers to construct intricate patterns.

For the artist, fused glass is the perfect medium to rediscover old techniques, create new ones by accident and continue her journey of art and discovery every time she opens the kiln.

Gallery Fifty carries a nice selection of her vases (above) for $95 each. The are approximately 7" tall by 5" round. We also offer her "Therapy" (below) plates for $175 each. They are 12" in diameter. Both designs make excellent gifts!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hand silkscreened for richness and saturation

For the past few years, we've done really well with a hand-silkscreened card line from New York called "Great Arrow." The designs are fresh and original and the quality is amazing. Many of our customers buy the cards as affordable artwork in order to frame!

The process starts with a new card concept from their artists. The designer provides sketches, paintings, digital designs, or even a three-dimensional collage. Great Arrow's in-house design team then prepares the art for the silkscreen process. Their colorist brings the original art to life using a palette of more than 500 colors of ink, including metallic colors and clear varnishes. Next, the design goes to print.

Screenprinting is a stencil technique in which the printer uses a rubber-bladed squeegee to force ink through the mesh of a screen; only the open areas of the mesh allow the ink to pass through. The squeegee process is repeated for each color on each card, with time allowed between each pass for the cards to dry. Great Arrow might be able to make cards faster with automated printing machines, but patience isn't just a virtue — it's also a value. Individual cards run from 2.85 - 3.35 (you can't buy a lousy Hallmark card for that little!)

Hand silkscreen printing is physical work, but it doesn't demand strength as much as feel. An experienced printer can control the pressure on the squeegee better than any machine, allowing us to reproduce the subtleties in an artist's original work. That's why artists love to design for Great Arrow — their cards have a richness and saturation that simply cannot be replicated by standard lithography.

Gallery Fifty always has a nice selection to choose from. Ask about our cards for birthday, anniversary, get well, sympathy, thank you, wedding, baby, or "just because." Our two favorites are above. The monkey card says "You drive me bananas." And the cat card says "You're amazing" inside.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Light the dark corners of your world

Washington state artist Beth Spadafora creates these contemporary and colorful glass nightlights. Many layers of colored glass are cut and assembled, then fused together in a hot kiln resulting in these playfully elegant nightlights that cast an ethereal glow. Light the dark corners of your world with these hip nightlights!

The look she tries to evoke is casual and somewhat organic, a little bit crazy and just plain fun. "I believe in spontaneity both in art and in life," she says. "Although the glass does take a number of steps in the fabrication, the design work is usually quite spontaneous."

All work is made with special glass formulated especially for kiln firing. The process involves cutting, shattering and rearranging layers of colored glass and then firing it in a kiln to melt it all together. This new piece is then cut into the shapes required for nightlights and fired again into final form. The resulting glass is wildly colorful with an intense depth. Abstract images appear to those who take the time to observe.

Each one is approximately 4" x 2.25" and individually packaged in a clear oval box for $35. Gallery Fifty has a great selection. Call 231-932-0775 for more information.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Original paintings as personal adornment

Ananda Khalsa draws inspiration from Asian art, natural forms, and the cool sleekness of metal. Each of her pieces contains an original painting on paper, which is set behind hand ground glass in fine and sterling silver. Much of her work is accented with the highest quality semiprecious stones and/or high karat gold.

Another important influence in Ananda's work is the powerful symbolism behind each of the subjects she chooses to paint. At Gallery Fifty, we're representing her jewelry with the following images...

Bluebird: This little bird is a universal symbol of happiness and the coming of spring.

Crane: The elegant courting dance of the crane has made this graceful bird a symbol of love and romance.

Dragonfly: With its delicate and graceful wings reflecting and refracting light, the Dragonfly represents new light and joyfulness.

Koi Fish: According to a Chinese legend, a Koi was once turned into a dragon after fearlessly climbing a treacherous waterfall, making them symbolic of courage and strength.

Lotus: Sprouting from the murky mud at the bottom of the pond, the lotus rises above the water to create it’s exquisite bloom. This makes it a symbol of purity and enlightenment in many eastern philosophies.

I've admired Ananda's work since before we opened the gallery nearly three years ago. We've been testing the waters with our inventory of "art jewelry" and finally feel ready to take the plunge by bringing her unique pieces in. Our shipment is expected by Thanksgiving 2007. You can preview the selection on our web site:

Selected Works: Five Decades

"Selected Works: Five Decades" is our current exhibition of drawings, paintings and constructions by Michigan artist Joe De Luca. The show is up until October 31, 2007, with an artist reception on Thursday, October 18 from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. This is by far the largest show we've installed with upwards of 75 pieces, many very large.

Joe's work can be found in numerous public and private collections. A professor of Art at Western Michigan University for thirty years, he has consistently exhibited in solo and group shows, garnering numerous awards and reviews in national publications.

Artist Statment:

My work is a microcosm of the landscape and deals with my emotional and intuitive responses to my environment. I am fascinated by textured, weathered and time-worn objects and surfaces. The effects considered are those of light, atmosphere and shadow.

Extended travels to Europe, and especially Italy and Portugal, have resulted in important motivational sources in my painting. Italy is a place to better understand my heritage and an environment in which to seek and study high art and architectural treasures. The Etruscan civilization became a significant resource during the early 80's. In recent years, my interest shifted to Portugal, as it seemed a natural extension of my interests in antiquity. This, the oldest country of Europe, offers a powerful, rough presence and unpretentious charm.

I presently work on large-scale canvases and include such materials as tar, cardboard, metal, wood and found objects. The works, if successful, give the appearance of ruined sections of old walls, excavated from a prior ancient setting. The surfaces often reveal multi-layered, richly developed textural patinas through the utilization and combination of paint, collage, inlay and found materials.

Present images attempt to visually appear to mark a passage of time, as well as to describe the metaphysical nature of things. These considerations seem, at this time, to be reasons to dignify a particular space and maintain the delicate balance that life necessitates and demands.

Take a virtual tour of this retrospective at (Photos by Don Rutt)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Looking deeper into the spirit

Michigan artist Keith Smith believes art should take the viewer a step beyond the surface of an object. As a result, his paintings are characterized by a vigorous, often unorthodox use of color, accompanied by strong contours. “I try to use color as a way to make the viewer see more than the basic shapes that define what’s already known to us,” he says.

A native of Traverse City, Keith is entirely self-taught though he’s been drawing and painting since his elementary school days. He paints in acrylics to take advantage of their rich hues and quick drying time — allowing him to layer his colors with little waiting, and without compromising the color purity of each layer.

His influences include the usual suspects like van Gogh, Matisse and the other Fauves because of their unusual and innovative use of color. But he has been just as affected by the clarity and boldness of the American west. The work of Native American artists like the late Fritz Scholder and T.C. Cannon, and their adherents, have played a large role in his artistic development, as well.

“The way they use color — unreal and almost bizarre at times — lures you into the picture and has a way of making you look deeper into the spirit of the subject depicted,” he says. “That’s the goal I have with my paintings. I want people to see that ordinary things can be extraordinary in nature.”

Whether it’s a simple barn, galloping horse, talking crow, or tree-lined hillside, his paintings attempt to evoke the emotion, passion and energy of life.

Gallery Fifty is currently show five of his works, including "Is Anybody Listening?, 24" x 30" framed, $600. Call us for more information or images of Keith's paintings: 231-932-0775.

Friday, September 21, 2007

'Flower Series' blooming at Gallery Fifty

Canadian glass artist Robert Held says, "Being physical with color and form is my love. After experimenting with many different media, I discovered glass and was instantly captivated. The clarity of the glass, the roar of the furnaces, the heat, and even the constant danger were all factors that influenced my choice of this difficult yet beautiful medium."

"Glassblowing allows me to explore both painterly concerns and my fascination with surface decoration, while continuing to challenge the other physical and creative skills required to take the vessel shape in ever new directions."

"My intimate relationship (talking to) the hot glass, the laying on of colors, layer upon layer, the addition of textures through broken glass shards, threads of molten glass and other techniques, is an incomparable experience. This fickle, molten mass will allow itself to be coaxed only by those who know its language."

I just made our winter order and am excited to introduce the 'flower series' to our customers. The tall vases (top right) are 11" and run $300. We love the smaller forms (stacked on left) — they're 6.5" to 7.5" and roughly $250. We expect delivery in mid-October and will post our selection on the web site:

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Color and Composition

We just started carrying work by Traverse City artist Carol Spaulding. I've long admired her pastel paintings for their vibrant color combinations and interesting compositions. Her work has a meditative, almost ethereal quality, with a truly original take on landscapes.

“I’m more interested in expressing a feeling than recording something and having it look like what it is,” she said in a 2006 interview with the Glen Arbor Sun. “I really love working with color and not sticking with just trying to put down the color that I was really seeing, to be a little more imaginative.”

“I think that being an artist really tweaks one’s powers of observation. I feel like I’m looking at things more intensely, and sort of with a purpose, because I’m always thinking about responding and expressing something from what I’m seeing,” she said.

Gallery Fifty is showing a fine selection of Carol's work, including "Leelanau Morning," (top) 12" x 6" framed and priced at $625; and "On the Road," (right) 6" x 6" at $650. Stop into Gallery Fifty for a closer look: 800 Cottageview Drive, Suite 50, Traverse City, MI 49684.

'Wired' for vintage appeal

New Jersey fiber artist Beth Whiting uses ribbon to fashion these little brooches and barettes. Primarily, she uses French wired which allows her to sew, pinch, twist and otherse coax the flowers into shape. It also allows her pieces to age gracefully as they are worn and loved, giving them vintage appeal. The craftsmanship is superior and each is backed in soft suede.

We've been carrying Beth's work for over a year and her pieces make popular gifts. Brooches start at $20 and go up to $48 (see top photo). Barettes run $22 - $26 each (bottom photo). Call Gallery Fifty for our current selection: 231-932-0775.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

'Mr. Art Critic' makes a stop at Gallery Fifty

Here's some fun gallery news! On Monday, director Rich Brauer and his crew filmed the opening scene for his upcoming film, "Mr. Art Critic." He approached me about a month ago, looking for a location that could pass for a hip Chicago art gallery (major compliment) and we were thrilled to oblige.

Actor Bronson Pinchot plays the role of M.J. Clayton, a high-profile art critic. Known for his heartless, mean-spirited reviews, he makes an impulsive statement that any idiot can make art, and sets out to prove it. Quickly realizing that it is infinitely more difficult than he perceived, he quietly purchases a beautiful painting from a talented artist, and submits it as his own entry into an art exhibition while vacationing at his summer home on Mackinac Island. The real truth is ultimately revealed, resulting in a dramatic shift from arrogance to humility... discovering the hard way that the ability to create art is indeed a gift.

I witnessed the movie-making magic from only feet away and it was a real education! There were about 15 crew in intimate proximity to the actors and an amazing amount of lighting, sound and film equipment. Took nearly five hours to film about two minutes of content.

Rich plans to premier the movie in late November of this year. Hopefully, it will get widely distributed and everyone will want to track down the beautiful paintings featured. By the way, they belong to local artist Amy LeJeune Harper. She recently here moved from Chicago where the city was a main focus of her abstract aerial landscapes.

Above: Director Rich Brauer and actor Bronson Pinchot figuring out how to work together. Below: Closing the gallery was a small price to pay for a snapshot with Bronson! (Yes, you recognize him as Balki from the sitcom "Perfect Strangers.")

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Stand out in the leather and pleather crowd

We've just ordered our Fall 2007 selections from Maruca's line of tapestry handbags, and expect the order mid-September.

Why does Maruca Design continue to be so popular? Because in a sea of leather and pleather purses, there remains a devout customer with whom we share a common thread: an appreciation and passion for fabulous textiles.

They are recognized for their custom-designed fabrics, fashion-conscious shapes and commitment to making bags by hand in Boulder, Colorado.

We hope you are inspired by their colorful world. Here are the season's fabric swatches:

We're especially excited about two new designs Maruca is offering. The "Metro" is a courier-style bag (see above) with a broad adjustable woven strap and big flap with pockets for pens, phone, glasses, etc. The "Soho" is large enough for daily use, but small enough to make a statement with a single strap — short enough to hand carry, and just long enough to fit over your shoulder. We love the two exterior pockets — one for your cell, the other for your keys.

Check out their website to your selection at Then call Gallery Fifty and make your order: 231-932-0775. We'll offer free shipping on any order over $75.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The odd, the old and the beautiful

The power of opposites is the basis of Michigan artist Julie Pearson's work. Finding the balance between order and disorder, old and new, simple and ornate, delicate and rustic is the never-ending challenge that continues to beckon her.

Two passions dominate the artist's creativity: the need to experiment with creative processes and the love of collecting the odd, the old and the beautiful. She has found the format of assemblage to be the most satisfying method of combining these elements into something through which she can express herself.

To begin, Julie allows emotion, imagination or curiosity to inspire... the intuitive process then takes on a life of its own. This particular experience is the very reason the she sees herself creating in this way for the rest of her life.

See more of her work on Gallery Fifty's web site:

Note: After nearly a year of coveting 'My Understanding,' I'm finally treating myself to this incredible piece (above). The text reads, "in the space between birth and death, all that really matters is love..."

Modern and easy to wear

Michigan jewelry artist Kristin Perkins has been drawn to the pure and natural beauty of glass all her life. Her jewelry is among the most contemporary that I have seen. While the colors make them fun to wear, the geometric glass shapes or silver shapes that she uses to accent them make them very modern and easy to wear.

Kristin makes each of her distinctive glass beads using a process called lampworking. Lampworking is an ancient term referring to melting glass and forming beads and other small glass sculptures by oil lamp. Glass bead makers now use a special torch to melt the glass, but the term lampworking continues to be used today for this type of art.

To make her beads, Kristin uses colorful rods of glass and heat them with my torch, which is fueled by natural gas and an oxygen generating machine. When the glass becomes molten, she winds it around a steel rod that has been coated with a clay-like mixture that will later allow her to remove the bead from the steel rod.

Kristin shapes beads by evenly applying the glass to the steel rod, keeping the molten glass constantly turning, and allowing gravity to do most of the work. What is not achieved by gravity can be done by using graphite and steel tools to attain the desired shape. Rods of glass in other colors are used to decorate the surface of the bead. Once the bead is complete, she properly anneals it in a kiln. Annealing is critical to the glass bead making process because it allows it to cool down slowly, which removes stress in the glass that could cause it to crack.

As a jewelry designer, she considers her lampworked beads very special because each bead is created with an end use in mind. Kristin is a trained silversmith, so she has the advantage of customizing each piece exactly as she envisions. What further differentiates her work from other lampworkers is the use of clear or transparent glass in every piece so that the fascinating properties of glass become the focus.

Her prices are extremely reasonable: $34 - $50 for earrings; $56 - $95 for pendants; $95 for cuff links. Contact Gallery Fifty for our current selection: 231-932-0775.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Time for fine design and craftsmanship

Traverse City woodworker Joe Stearns has been designing and building furniture more than 20 years. With formal training in architecture, he's studied with several woodworking mentors. Most important, though, is his passionate interest in all aspects of fine woodworking and design which he's studied as a full-time occupation since 1999.

Joe gives equal emphasis to craftsmanship, design and selection of the finest materials available. His finished works are characterized by an uncluttered, organic flow of lines and shapes. His designs are intended to transcend the dictates of any particular school or style and to be intrinsically appealing on the strength of their roots in time-honored principles of form and proportion.

We're currently carrying five different styles of Joe's clocks including the "Open Frame Oval" shown above. These unique clocks are his latest designs. He uses the finest quartz-movement clockworks and sculpts each one by hand from a variety of beautiful wood combinations. They can be fitted with alarm clocks for your bedroom or displayed as art pieces on on your wall, shelf or mantle.

This one is cherry and wenge, $245. Call Gallery Fifty for more information: 231-932-0775.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Art Lasts, Life is Brief

New York artist Eduardo Milieris has always been fascinated by the integration of art and time. Originally from Uruguay, he studied photography, video art and sculpture before creating his unique line of watches under the "Watchcraft" name.

From a young age his mantra has been: "Ars Longa, Vita Brevis" (Art Lasts, Life is Brief). And you'll enjoy counting life's brief seconds with his artful designs.

Eduardo's collection with its antiqued brass, copper and silver bands, and the hand painted dials, creates the feeling of a wristwatch long lost, now found.

Each watch is weathered and oxidized, using carefully researched techniques. The metals are left unsealed so that they continue to age gracefully.

The pieces are unisex in design and we're able to add or remove links right here at the gallery. They come with a one year warranty and use a sturdy Citizen watch mechanism.

Gallery Fifty always has a nice selection. Call 231-932-0775 to see what we have in-stock.

Note: I've owned one of Eduardo's watches for over three years and I can honestly say it looks better with age and wear! It allows the wearer to become a participant in the evolution of the piece. Air, temperature, and the skin of the wearer all change the inherent molecular structure of the metals, resulting in a wristwatch that is most uniquely their own.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Get on 'board' with these popular gifts

Michigan wood craftsman Matt Joppich creates these one-of-a-kind cutting boards from his furniture making scrap. Constructed of local hardwoods, the sizes range from 7.5" x 5" up to 15" x 10". The small boards make excellent gifts for the barteder or boat owner. Prices are $18 - $55. Call Gallery Fifty for our current selection: 231-932-0775.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Scenery, light and seasons

I just returned from the studio of Lisa Wilkins Schulte and couldn't be more excited! She's been very prolific with her plein air pastel paintings and many feature local landscapes, such as the scenes from Old Mission Peninsula shown above.

Because she was born in Guyana, the rich, vivd hue of pastels appeal to her Caribbean sense of color and she loves the textures that she can create with them. Lisa is constantly inspired by the northern Michigan region and its spectacular scenery, light and changing seasons. Her influences include Michael Chesley Johnson, Wolf Kahn, Wassily Kandinsky and Marjorie Broodhagen.

We're getting a great range of new work in early July. Check back then for more information.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Expressive movements in nature

Michigan artist Angela Mathias Saxon is our newest addition to Gallery Fifty. I've been an admirer of Angela's painting for a long time, so we was thrilled when she finally agreed to show her work with us.

She considers herself primarily a "landscape painter," though recently she's been heading off in a new directions with metallic surface "veils" and mixing media like oil and charcoal. We're showing lakescapes of the Manitou Islands similar to the piece shown here, in addition to some beautiful stark winter trees paintings. Angela focuses on expressive movements in nature and often paints plein air.

I love to show clients her signature technique of incorporating trim from her older paintings to finish the edge of her newer work. Notice the lake, land, and sky (flipped horizontal from left to right) across the bottom of "Quiet Passage." I'm intriqued by her idea of a painting as a living, evolving thing.

Contact Gallery Fifty with your interest, and we'll email images of her current work:

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A little fantastic, a little odd

"In this technological age, I find that people respond to objects that are gentle, and that carry a human touch — objects that connect them to the heart and spirit of the maker," says Oregon artist Christian Burchard.

He creates these incredible wood 'baskets' by turning Pacific Madrone Burl while it's still green. This wood has a wide range of colors and textures, and cracks, warps or hardens as it dries.The paper-thin pieces are then bleached, sandblasted or burned to add dramatic surface effects.

Gallery Fifty has a great selection of baskets ranging from 2.5" - 5" in diameter, and we offer both golden and red finishes. Prices are $40 - $115 each.

"My objects attempt to tell a story. They act as metaphors. A little fantastic, a little odd," he says.

A deep respect for craftsmanship

Wisconsin artist Thomas Cabezas has been designing and building unique quality furniture and boxes since 1991. With a background in sculpture and a deep respect for craftsmanship and detail, he strives to create work that does not attempt to place form over function or function over form.

"The right piece should be viewed as a balance of function and form." Thomas puts this philosophy and more into each work that he designs and builds, from an eleborate jewelry box to a custom designed furniture piece.

Looking for a great 'guy gift?' They love Thomas' little wood boxes. Each measures 3.5” X 4.5” X 4.5” and are available in an assortment or hardwoods with black knobs; $66 each.

Or, if you're looking for a jewelry/keepsake box as special as its contents, consider the Rising Sun Box. It measures 8" X 13" X 8" and is constructed of Curly Maple and assorted exotic hardwoods; $540.

Call Gallery Fifty for our current selection of Thomas' boxes: 231-932-0775.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The spirit of the dialogue

Elements Floating, 2007, acrylic on mixed media, 27.5" x 24"

INNERSPACES: The Art of Rufus Snoddy
Exhibition and Sale at Gallery Fifty, Traverse City, Michigan
June 2 - July 12, 2007

Living in these times, one faces a difficult proposition trying to stay connected to nature. We are being so constantly bombarded by technological innovation. More and more glass, asphalt and concrete make for less and less access to green places in our living environments. I am not sure how consciously aware we are of the affects this has on our collective psyche. Personally, I find it more difficult to be in touch with physical survival instincts. Seemingly, for every natural urge there is a technological device designed to quell it by creating convenience or make it a step removed from significant physical activity. We call this progress.

“Innerspaces” make reference to the longing of my inner instincts to connect with the soul of survival of my ancestors and other indigenous peoples. Symbolically, I reflect texturally how this connection is made on a cellular level. The materials and images are selected and collected intuitively from unconscious internal conversational responses to my environment. These conversations, as always, include the ever present critic, or the “critical eyes,” as we live in times where everything must be objectified. It must be categorized, quantified and qualified. I experience this objectification process as a bold move away from our survival nature and the inherent nature of survival, toward a world of rampant consumerism. There seems to be an obsession with vanity and its creations. Much the same question I asked as a child, “Where are we going and why are we going there?”

Why is natural beauty not good enough?

Landscape Green, 2006, acrylic, oil, collage, 36" x 30"

Beginning my career as a sculptor, many years ago, I didn’t have the resources to set up a welding shop. This forced me to find a more practical approach to the art making process, one that encompassed sculptural sensibilities, of softer, more malleable forms. Having completed graduate work in kinetic sculpture, I had an acute affinity with the Constructivists. Painting was the most obvious nexus, though I had an aversion to picture-making. However, I pushed myself to make pictures. Having spent time in design and illustration, my first serious work was photo-realism. Unsatisfied, my pursuit of non-figurative painting began and lasted for five years or so. During this time I began adding sculptural elements to my work, which continues today. My natural proclivity was to treat my paintings as sculptures, which I decided to embrace. I saw these works as painted constructions or “Construction Paintings”, painting as object, much akin to Frank Stella, Elizabeth Murray, John Okulik and artists with similar approaches. The melding of painting and sculpture challenges and fulfill my aesthetic desire to connect with the spirits of my ancestors and other indigenous artists.

Visceral Future, 2007, acrylic on mixed media, 60" x 48"

Texture is very important to me. From a sculptor’s sensibility, I build textures and surfaces to stress expressive illusion of color and space, treating a painting as object with the intent to obliterate the line between painting and sculpture. I search for origins that exist in genetic memory. This search is motivated by a hunger for structural and formal content. As an expression of faith, a supernatural vision, I place my trust in the spirit of my Ancestors to guide instinctual conceptual choices and material usage, with the hope to speak voices without words.

Landscape Blue, 2006, acrylic and mixed media, 36" x 30"

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Add Fung Shui to any environment

Piercing through stainless steel with a plasma cutter nearly as fast as she can draw on paper, Michigan artist Cherie Haney invents her designs from her home studio in Ann Arbor. She received her BFA from Eastern Michigan University and then studied under a local master-potter for five years.

Once her designs are finalized, the shapes are retraced into a computer to be cut by a high-pressure stream of water, leaving a smooth burless surface and a clean, concise cut. After being cut, each piece is individually finished using a hand-held grinder with various discs to produce unique surfaces.

Cherie's pieces are meant to be hung around the home and garden, adding unique touches of warmth and contrast. Whether hanging on the porch or on the wall, her stainless steel designs can be used to add Fung Shui flow to any environment. When asked, she says that she prefers to see her designs as ethereal, spiritual symbols that take the form of floating metal decorations.

We love her work because of the dimension and the way light plays on her surfaces. With the move toward stainless steel in kitchen appliances, it's an affordable fit for most any home. 12" x 12" wall pieces are $125; 12" x 24" are $175; 24" x 24" are $325. Call Gallery Fifty for our current selection: 231-932-0775.