Gebert Contemporary and
Lisa Sette Gallery
announce March art exhibitions
Gebert Contemporary on Main
Gebert Contemporary Gallery will feature two artists; painter Michelle Stuhl and woodworker Howard Werner. The opening reception will be held on Thursday, March 1, from 7 – 9 p.m. Both artists will be in attendance.
“This series was inspired by a magical visit to Bhutan. A Himalayan jewel, breathtaking and gentle with a guiding commitment to Gross National Happiness! The main daily activity was to hike to the Buddhist Monastery in each location on the tour. Every Monastery had a magnificent Cedar tree right outside of the main temple…. always taller than the trees in the nearby forest and clearly cherished and protected. These images were taken from sketches created on those wonderful hikes.” Michelle Stuhl
Right: Michelle Stuhl, Grand Tree, oil, graphite, encaustic on panel, 48 x 24 inches.
Howard Werner received a degree in woodwork and furniture design from The School for American Craftsmen at Rochester Institute of Technology. His greatest inspiration, however, comes from the world of sculpture and the work of Brancusi and Noguchi. Howard has been direct-carving sculpture and furniture from large tree sections since the mid 1970’s. His work is influenced by both classical forms from Greece and Italy as well as primitive carvings from Africa and Oceana. The tools and raw materials he employs are important to the finished work. His process is evident in the rough chainsawn surfaces and the untouched natural sections of the trees that are prominent on many pieces.
Howard Werner, Eucalyptus Burl, 22 x 42 x 14 inches.
Lisa Sette Gallery
The exhibition, opening on March 3 through April 28, will feature two artists; Ato Ribeiro and Maximo Gonzalez. An opening reception with the artists will be held on March 3, from 7 – 9 p.m.
Minimalist compositions of pattern and form suggest a complex historical and cultural background in the works of Ato Ribeiro and Maximo Gonzalez. Ribeiro’s hand-worked wooden quilts speak to the merging of cultures that is a primary facet of contemporary life, as well as the changing conceptions of communication and material that will shape our planet’s future. Gonzalez’s works in devalued currency propose a canny political critique in the form of the subverted materials from corrupt power structures.
Maximo Gonzalez is recognized internationally for installations composed entirely of detritus and cast-asides, and he is known in particular for his work with devalued currency. Suggesting roiling collections of empty photo frames, sisyphean mazes, and stacks of grids and files, Gonzalez’s works draw attention to both the emptiness within these structures and the aimless bureaucratic paperwork that predicates them. The ability of the artist to repurpose paper evidence of corruption and mismanagement into an interrelated series of delicate and enchanting objects offers hope: despite the ravages of greed, humans continue to return to basic values of material ingenuity and aesthetic structure.
Formed from the devalued and obsolete Mexican paper bills, Gonzalez’s works are created using traditional textile and paper crafts including punch-cutting, weaving, and a method similar to the Japanese
cut-and-fold technique of kirigami. Through these currency labyrinths, Gonzalez delineates “the whimsical line of the division of territories, drawn conveniently for the one who traced it… a line that seeks to separate the inside and the outside, desire and wish, entering or leaving; a political labyrinth that is redrawn through centuries, always obeying the same line: the one that is traced by money.”
Maximo Gonzalez, Come Back to Me, 2017, Collage: out-of-circulation currency, 35.75″ x 28.5â€ framed
The purest of graphic elements often express the most urgent and essential information. The wooden quilts of Ato Ribeiro–composed entirely of found and discarded woods–embody a vocabulary of histories and materials compiled across continents and cultures. Woven of repeating shapes and grain patterns determined by both the amount of scrap wood available, and specific methods used in quiltmaking and kente-cloth strip weaving, the resulting works reveal the elegant, essential beauty of Ribeiro’s meticulously collected and catalogued scraps. Ribeiro’s works, like the early African-American quilts that influence them, are both specifically defined and dynamic, containing forms that shift and expand as our eyes adjust to repeating variations in line and shape.
This pattern of constant motion is reflected in Ribeiro’s own life, divided equally between his father’s native country of Ghana, where he spent his early childhood, and the United States, where his mother was born. While studying art at Morehouse College in Georgia, Ribeiro felt compelled to join the geographical and cultural divide: “I needed to connect the two conversations, to bridge the African side and the African-American side.”
Ribeiro fashions this connection in marqueted geometrical forms that draw inspiration from both African kente patterns and the quilters of Gee’s Bend, Alabama. With their intentional use of materials and expansive vocabulary of symbols and patterns, Ribeiro recognized in “the complex modes of communication embedded within these textiles” a parallel to his own experience. In the works’ graphic elements lives a coded language, contemporary evidence of a shared heritage that is independent of words and has existed for centuries.
Ato Ribeiro, Log Cabin Checkers Board, 2017, repurposed wood, wood glue, coffee grounds, indigo dyed receipts, 24″ x 24″ x 1”.