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.")