Saturday, May 19, 2018

Princeton exhibition explores layers of our earth from its geological depths to the farthest reaches of clouds

#201 Clouds over Ocean at Normandy, France, Merrilee Drakulich, oil on paper 30 in H x 22 in W mounted on board in a metal strip frame 1.5 in D, $400, hires web.jpgLayers of the Earth: From Core to Cloud

WHEN: April 30 through June 15. Gallery hours Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Johnson Education Center galleries, One Preservation Place, Princeton

Artists include Oki Fukunaga, Khalilah Sabree, Armando Sosa, Katie Truk, Jonathon Wells and Merrilee Drakulich.

“This exhibition explores layers of our earth from its geological depths to the farthest reaches of clouds,” says Curator Diana Moore. “The experience is multi-media with artist materials ranging from recycled hangers and nylons to the literal layers of elaborate textiles.  The wilderness of our planet stretches so much farther than just the land beneath our feet.” Moore continues: “These artists connect above and below with contemplative and dimensional pieces that challenge human horizons.”

Jonathon Wells is a hydrogeologist and photographer who pairs fine art photography and geology into composites that search for an interplay between the built environment and the geologic foundation below (above). “As a fine art photographer I find my eye and imagination actively engaged in a specific urban or rural site or space,” Wells says. “As a geologist I am intrigued by the underlying geologic framework of that site… In my exploration of both surface and subsurface views of the earth, I hope to offer images that allow viewers an intriguing way to contemplate both landscape and a sense of place.”

Light Goes Before Them Khalilah SabreeMixed-media painter Khalilah Sabree’s work (left) is about spiritual transformation. Her current body of work is inspired by verses from the Holy Quran and current events.

Sabree started her first series in response to the horrific events of 9/11. “As an African American Muslim woman, the attack was overwhelming and impacted my work tremendously,” Sabree says. She maintains a private studio at Artworks Trenton, and has a Master of Fine Art in painting from the University of the Arts, Philadelphia. Her work has been exhibited extensively throughout the tri-state area, and is in numerous collections.

Image result for Oki FukunagaOki Fukunaga uses wire coat hangers that celebrate and rise above the familiar hanger. The resulting sculptures are delicate constructions that have a powerful presence of weight and mass. The imaginative creations offer the viewer an exciting display of fluctuating forms and patterns in space.

Katie Truk Run Off.jpgKatie Truk also uses wire (left) although in a completely different way. Her pieces are a marriage of her media, the sensual malleability of pantyhose and the rigidity of wire. She creates an “internal conversation… induced within the static confine.  Thread binds and extends the aggression and vulnerability, echoing life’s twists, turns, and pulling within our rigorous regulations and expectations,” says Truk. Free of pedestal or directed viewpoint allows change in perspective which is necessary to explore the depth of understanding of the whole picture.

sosa detailArmando Sosa is a master weaver (right), or as the U.S. government has classified him, “an artist of exceptional ability.” He spends hours at his loom, weaving intricate textiles with bright colors and traditional motifs from various cultures. From beginning to end, Sosa says a textile usually takes over 100 hours. The whole time it’s just him and his loom, the first of which he built with his own hands in 1994, using only childhood memories as a guide. Sosa was born in 1953 in the small town of Salcaj√°, where more than 90 percent of the men were weavers. He remembers the homes crowded with one, two, sometimes three looms, leaving little room for anything else.

#558 Countryside around Killarney, #4_ Merrilee Drakulich, oil pastel on Arches 140 lb oil paper 22 in H x 30 in W and mounted in 32 in H x 40 in W frame, $700,Merrilee Drakulich has been a professional artist for more than 40 years, painting in oil and in oil pastels. Her paintings derive from the landscapes and seascapes of Ireland, France, Germany, England, Japan, Jamaica and the U.S. Born and raised in the mountains and valleys of northeastern Pennsylvania, Drakulich earned her master’s degree in studio arts from California State University in Long Beach. Her involvement with the landscape began during the 16 years she lived in Jamaica, where Caribbean sunlight afforded her an opportunity to develop an interplay of light and shadows that became central to her work. She has also lived in France and Tokyo, and enjoys what she describes as “an almost obsessive fascination with clouds, the sea, the land and objects within the landscape.”

“I love the slices of earth that stretch from sky to below ground, bringing to mind the many layers of preservation in a D&R Greenway landscape,” says Linda Mead, President of D&R Greenway Land Trust. “We preserve the birds and bees, the foxes and bears, and the worms that create a fertile soil when we preserve one single property.

“Nature can be as peaceful as meditation,” Mead continues, “as I’m reminded when I gaze at Sosa’s tapestries. It’s especially fun to experience the three-dimensional sculptures from recycled materials  that inspire a conservation ethic.  And I truly feel uplifted by colorful paintings of sky that convey the healing spirit of nature.”