Thursday, October 8, 2009

PRESS RELEASE: Rock Solid stone exhibit at Studio Place Arts in Barre

SPA has mounted its ninth annual Rock Solid stone sculpture exhibit this year, which runs through November 7, 2009. The show includes a fascinating mix of traditional forms and contemporary explorations. Native stones of Vermont – granite, marble and slate – are the dominant selections by artisans. The show includes 23 sculptures, bas relief works, and assemblages from stone, as well as 16 paintings of stone and sketches for the stone sculptures.

This year, Rock Solid includes a group of carved figures, forms inspired by nature, and abstracted, multi-media creations. The exhibit features a great variety of stone surfaces, with themes that range from playful to serious. All invite touching, which is encouraged at SPA.

A five-foot tall, abstracted figure from Dakota mahogany granite created by George Kurjanowicz of Barre takes a dramatic position in the gallery, as does a nearly life-sized, pregnant nude made from Barre gray granite by Chris Miller of Calais. There are two smaller, classically inspired, nude figures from local marble, one by Don Ramey of West Rutland and another by Chris Miller. An abstracted vamp chiseled from travertine with a Champlain black marble, “plumed Fedora” by Paul Hilliard of West Pawlet strikes a sexy pose.

Giuliano Cecchinelli of Barre, who picked up his first chisel in Carrara, Italy as a young boy, carved an intimate bas-relief sculpture honoring the arrival of an infant in a family’s life, possibly his granddaughter. His carving sits near a small, abstracted granite figure of a mother and baby, which Checchinelli carved from a design modeled in Play-Doh by his 3-year old granddaughter, Isabella Cecchinelli, .

Two sculptors use native marble to capture lifeforms from the natural world. Joan Gaboriault of Montpelier shaped a 2-foot tall cluster of Calla lilies and Mary Alcantara shows a super-sized, abstracted maple blossom and a smaller pea vine.

As a counterbalance to the stone sculptures in the show, there are sumptuous paintings of stones and relief carvings on the walls of the gallery. Returning to the annual show from Rutland is Kerry O. Furlani (left), who recently completed 4 carvings from local slate for her new The Wedlock Series. In addition, there are painterly compositions of boulders, pebbles and moss-covered stones by Lynne Barton of W. Rutland and Rene Schall of Colchester.

Stone is an excellent foil for other media. B. Amore of Benson, the former director of the The Carving Studio and Sculpture Center, included a striking sculpture involving a photo transfer on silk applied to a marble surface that is resting on a worn iron, legged platform. Nick Santoro of West Rutland carved a large, genetically modified seed from marble, which is possibly on the move across the floor on rebar “legs”. John Matusz of Waitsfield created a dynamic floor sculpture involving welded steel, stone and 3 chunks of colored glass.

Taken together, the works in Rock Solid strike an exciting balance between traditional and contemporary responses to the durable, handsome medium of stone. A nearly universal response from visitors as they cross the threshold of the main gallery at SPA has been the single word, “Wow.”

Gallery Hours:
Tues-Fri 10AM-5PM
Sat Noon-4PM

Studio Place Arts
201 N Main St
Barre, VT 05641
(802) 479-7069