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.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Asian Simplicity meets American Craftsmanship

Working out of a nineteenth century mill, Rhode Island woodworker Thomas Davin utilizes the beauty of his surroundings to create objects that are simple yet elegant in design. His woodcrafts are both serviceable and handsome and with minimal care, they can be appreciated for years to come. The hallmark of Thomas' work is its combination of artistic expression and utilitarian design.

We love his sushi boards and chopsticks. They are popular wedding gifts and everyone likes the multi-function of the chopstick holder — it also serves as a rest while they're in use. Boards are $85 and maple chopsticks sets with cocobolo holders are $20 each.

We also carry jewelry stands, cutting boards and magnifying glasses by Thomas. Call Gallery Fifty for more information: 231-932-0775.