Carolyn Garcia & Deborah Unger, Susan Opie

MAIN GALLERY (June 25-July 28)

“The work for this show sprang from a series of articles I read about how animals are thriving in the Chernobyl exclusion zone after the nuclear meltdown.  Although there are genetic mutations and shorter life spans, animals have adapted.  A strange nature preserve has sprung from the disaster we created, plants have engulfed man-made structures and swallowed the asphalt of streets where animals roam freely.   I often think about how our species has placed themselves in a different category, yet there is little difference between us and the rest of the natural world, and any perceived control we think we may have is illusory.  In the work I have created for this show  I wanted to illustrate the human connection to the natural world and the necessity of preserving that connection.The work for this show was created with acrylic paint, water color, graphite and colored pencil.  My process of working is often painstaking.  I build the artwork in tissue thin layers and there are parts of each piece that I have to use a combination of reading glasses and a magnifying glass to see what I am doing.  The tiny details are a comfort to create, it is a meditative process where hours melt away undetected.”

My work is always heavily autobiographical because I think you can only really talk about what you know. However, as I removed the dust sheet, which covered the accumulating pieces, I was struck by how overwhelmingly female this particular body of work turned out to be. Like a small, navel-gazing army of miniature me’s. I rely on metaphor and symbolism to describe personal and relational conflicts, making them reminiscent of what one might experience in a dream. Technically, my work has become more detailed. It seems like a natural progression. Part of this is a result of getting my first formal training in woodcarving. Last summer I took a short woodcarving course in Tyrol. Though, I still don’t work in the traditional sculpting method, I learned to use the right tools for the right situation.”

FEATURE AREA (June 25-July 26)

“Well, what an about-face for me.  After decades of hot and gritty work making bronze sculptures, I am now seated, surrounded by bins of fluffy wool.  I am needle felting and art history is the subject matter. My felts are small homages to some of the world’s great paintings.  I have enjoyed going through art books and online looking for “feltable” images.  My survey spans history from cave paintings to contemporary art, both figurative and abstract.  Included are: Renoir, Swedish naive, Keith Haring, Northwest Coast Indian, Bosch, Munch, Beckman, Gauguin  and many more.  Some pieces are framed and others are strung as necklaces.Needle felting is a dry process of poking a harpoon-like needle into wool.  Each strand of wool, whether dyed or natural color, has microscopic hooks that bind when pulled together by the needle.  The needle is sharper than a sewing needle and can inflict a nasty jab if one loses focus.I find felting enjoyable, from the look, feel and smell of the wool, to the repetitive and meditative nature of the process.  It is a little bit of magic.”