The latest exhibition to open at Saratoga Arts mixes mediums to delve into the power of memory and the rich landscape of the mind.
It starts with wispy works by Christian Wechgelaer, who blends dizzying doodles with polaroids, film strips and layers of paper. One mixed media piece, titled “The Rite of Spring 3,” features sketches of falling leaves and a zipped-up jacket with a hat hovering just above it. Beside that work hangs “The Rite of Spring 2,” featuring faded sketches of a protractor near a film strip and an abstract portrait of a face where the expression isn’t in line with the rest of the features.
Each of Wechgelaer’s works has a nostalgic quality about it, tugging at distant childhood memories buried somewhere in the back of one’s mind.
“There is a tension between real space and imagined space that has always existed in my memory,” Wechgelaer said in an artist statement. “There is the real space of my childhood home, which becomes fiction as I can only view it through the fragmented imagery in my mind. . . . While I am never left with the answers I seek, through the process of making I establish a physical link to my own memory.”
Wechglaer’s two-dimensional works are juxtaposed with heavy clay sculptures by Dan Greenfeld. Each structure is meant to be abstract, though it’s impossible not to see representational shapes in a few.
There are well over a dozen structures on the floor and they create a walking path through the exhibit space. According to Greenfeld’s artist statement, he shapes each sculpture without tools. Instead, he uses his hands to pinch coils of the clay to sculpt the forms viewers see.
“All the marks my hands make are left in place as a record of my movements,” Greenfeld said.
He invites viewers to interact and engage with the works, whether through sight or touch.
“Perhaps this interaction will affect and change the viewer in some small way. Any viewer response is welcomed. All are valid,” Greenfeld said.
Not too far away are fabric works by Charlotte Moody, who hand stitches fabric swatches to create 5-inch abstract collages.
In a series called “Mind Fragments,” Moody layers frayed squares and strips of pattered fabric, sometimes embroidering a representational figure, like a flower or leaf.
While there are a few repeating fabrics, the real connective tissue in Moody’s work is the reoccurrence of circles. In nearly every composition, there seems to be at least one, sometimes it’s front and center, other times it’s less obvious and one has to scan for it. According to Moody, the symbol is used to represent all possibilities.
“Art is a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Art is what keeps my mind and body young and active,” Moody wrote in an artist statement.
In another section of the gallery, artist Corran Shrimpton considers both the mind and the body through striking and sometimes fantastical sculptures.
One black figure sits atop a pedestal, with words and phrases like “Lose 10 lbs.” and “Clean eating cleanse,” written all over in chalk. The figure is turned away from the viewer, reaching for an eraser on a pedestal that’s just out of reach. Shrimpton aptly named the work “Clean Slate.”
“By combining the familiarity of the human form with unexpected elements, I make figurative ceramic sculptures that contend with the classical definition of the genre,” Shrimpton wrote. “My work externalizes and distorts emotion, inviting the viewer to investigate, empathize, and connect with it from a new perspective. I am not satisfied sculpting the traditional figure. My figures battle against the long history of heroic male statues and nude females through the male gaze. While many of my pieces are of the female nude, they are not sexualized nor are they trying to conform to traditional beauty standards.”
In one of the more fantastical works, called “Bloom,” a kneeling figure with honeycomb patterns and flowers on its head, seems to have just pulled a piece of honeycomb from its chest. Though the figure’s eyes are downcast, there’s an expression perhaps of shock, and its entire body is tense.
Not too far away, a golden figure is seen in a white bathtub filled with flowers, floating in a resin. The figure looks just off to the side of the tub, arms propped up on its knees. Titled “Steeped Tea,” it’s a meditative work, reflecting a sense of deep solitude.
The exhibition will be up through June 26 and is available to view online as well as at Saratoga Arts. For more information visit saratoga-arts.org.
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