Thursday, October 13, 2011

PRESS RELEASE: Annual Exhibition of Local Stone Sculptures at SPA in Barre

Rock Solid In & Out
October 4 - November 5, 2011

An annual exhibit at Studio Place Arts in Barre pays homage to stone for its eleventh consecutive year. Called Rock Solid In & Out, the exhibit includes 5 human-scale works carved from granite in an outdoors, temporary Sculpture Park and more than 20 smaller works inside the main floor gallery.

Through November 5, visitors may enjoy a variety of stone sculptures indoors and outdoors made from granite, marble, limestone, soap stone, alabaster and other stones. In addition, abandoned, once flourishing local quarries and piles of stones are also depicted in dramatic, brightly toned paintings inside the main gallery.

A new, temporary Sculpture Park recently sprouted from a former vacant lot in the heart of downtown Barre. The outdoors gallery – a former vacant lot - was recently occupied by a dilapidated building for more than 5 years. When demolition was scheduled last fall, Sue Higby, executive director of Studio Place Arts, lobbied Barre City Council for the use of the lot for public artwork.

This temporary Sculpture Park provides extra gallery space for a group of sculptures, including a full-scale, overstuffed easy chair carved from Barre gray granite that suggests, “Pull up a chair and stay awhile.” Sculpture park visitors are encouraged to rest on the surprisingly comfortable stone seat, named Daddy’s Chair, which was carved by Giuliano Cecchinelli, II, from a 1-ton block of granite.

Can’t find your keys? Sculptor Jerry Williams created a 7-foot skeleton key from a rare piece of Westerly granite, a stone hunk that was salvaged from the base of an historic sculpture at Harvard Square. He kept the antique, hand-carved, tapered marks on two sides of the sculpture and honed a smooth, cut surface on the other sides of the key. The textural contrast is striking.

Inside the main gallery at Studio Place Arts, 24 smaller-scale sculptures occupy the floor and pedestals. There are sculptures of organic forms inspired by the sea, imaginative, abstract works that show the qualities of the stone, fantastical pieces, and realistic carvings of flora and fauna. Visitors are encouraged to feel the surfaces of the stone works as they take in the richly varied exhibition.

A large sculpture called Coagulation by Gampo Wickenheiser comprised of two halves of a large, roughly textured boulder encourages touching. Its jagged exterior boldly contradicts the smooth surface of the inside halves, which are joined by a snake-like mass of metal cords surrounding an old piston. Nearby, a classic, bas-relief carving on pink granite by Giuliano Cecchinelli, Freedom from Genetically Modified Organisms depicts the hardened hands of an elderly field worker, gripping his sythe.

An emerging fiddlehead form, Green Swirl, by Mary Alcantara was created from an eye catching, variegated green serpentinite stone that she brought back from a sojourn to the western states. Behind this lovely pistachio-shaded carving, is Robert Chapla’s blue-purple toned acrylic painting of Quarry 5 at Millstone Hill, an abandoned granite quarry located just several miles from the SPA gallery.

From October 4-November 5, Rock Solid In & Out showcases the fine craftsmanship of local stone carving studios located in the greater Barre area and West Rutland region.

Green Swirl by Mary Alcantara in front; Quarry 5 by Robert Chapla, acrylic and colored pencil
Daddy’s Chair by Giuliano Cecchinelli, II, Barre gray
Procreation by Nick Santoro, Danby Marble