Michener to open second half of Creative Hand, Discerning Heart

Form, Rhythm, Song: Michener Art Museum to open second half of Creative Hand, Discerning Heart

DOYLESTOWN, PA — Last year, the Michener Art Museum presented the first of its two-part exhibition, Creative Hand, Discerning Heart. The second part of this exhibition of contemporary Philadelphia-area artists, Form, Rhythm Song, will be on view in the museum’s Paton l Smith l Della Penna-Fernberger Galleries May 18 through September 29, 2013. The exhibition is sponsored by an anonymous friend of the museum.

“Artists often seek communities of like-minded souls who can help them grow,” says Michener Director & CEO Lisa Tremper Hanover. “Yet there are as many creative hands, it seems, as there are creative people. Creative Hand, Discerning Heart: Form, Rhythm, Song celebrates this incredible diversity among living artists, while also seeking connections that lie, often unseen, just beneath the turbulent surface of the contemporary art world.”

Creative Hand, Discerning Heart: Form, Rhythm, Song presents the artist as designer and dancer, and celebrates art as movement and visual melody. “These artists love line and the lyrical, and tend toward the abstract, pulling pattern and essence out of the natural confusion and disarray of the visual environment,” says the Michener’s Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest Chief Curator Brian Peterson. “But they each find a way of turning pattern and movement into something more intimate, more personal. They dance their own dance, and sing their own song.”

These exhibitions were juried from submissions by some of the most accomplished artists in the Philadelphia region, using the experience and skills both of Michener staff members and two distinguished curatorial consultants: writer and independent curator Judith E. Stein and Judith Tannenbaum, who recently retired from her position as Richard Brown Baker Curator of Contemporary Art at the Museum of Art Rhode Island School of Design.

About the Artists:

Stuart Rome’s childhood was spent playing in rivers and streams and oceans teeming with life. Early in his career, he photographed ancient art treasures in Latin America and Asia, as well as contemporary trance rituals in Haiti and Indonesia. “These experiences sensitized me to patterns within nature, and the more I saw, the more I imagined a hidden text within those patterns,” he said. “This urge to discern the deeper patterns of experience has been the foundation for much of the work I have done since.”

David Ellsworth’s primary influences come from the energy and beauty of Native American ceramics; the architecture of the American Southwest with its textures, tones and monumentality; and the natural beauty of the material of wood. “My intent is to capture the simplicity of form, the complexity of surface, and the energy of the interior that is contained by the thin membrane of the wood that defines it,” he said. “In this regard, it would be fair to call me a potter-a potter of wood.”

Jill Bonovitz says her work begins from a silent place deep within. “It flows through my hands and into the clay. I am never certain of the destination, but I’m guided by intuition and engagement with the material. The process is influenced by life experience, forms in nature, primitive drawing, ethnographic textiles, and solitude-and the result always lives within the boundaries of the vessel form.”

For Alan Goldstein the all-too-memorable horrors of September 11, 2001 followed him into the studio where canvas and paper absorbed his responses. “Without plan or intention, colors came to hand almost at random,” he said. “Although I never listen to music while working, sounds from Krzysztof Penderecki’s Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima were often in my mind. My paintings are silent invitations to listen, react, and remember.”

Bruce Pollock’s paintings are based on the geometric structures that underlie the whole of nature. He uses these forms and patterns to express the deep interconnections woven into the fabric of nature and space. “I often use fractal geometry in my paintings,” Pollock said. “Fractal forms are universal archetypes that retain the same shape, whether they’re seen in a microscope or a telescope. These patterns are found in the structure of all living things. The paintings exhibited are based on a branching fractal form that occurs in trees, ice crystals, blood vessels and river systems… A painting, for me, is a living and changing entity, a metaphor for the process of growth in the natural world.”

Through his fiber constructions and paintings, Michael Olszewski
strives to visually re-create the essence of emotions that arise from conflicting aspects of his interior life, relationships with others, and transitional life crises. “My creative process is as much an act of clarifying as of making,” he said. “As the work moves forward, I gain a better understanding of who I am and how I function in the world.”

Ying Li works in the zone where abstraction and representation shade off into each other, through bold colors, earthy textures, and calligraphic lines. “My training in Chinese painting and calligraphy helps me to form a brushwork that is both free and disciplined,” he said. “Color is the core of my painting. I use it to convey mood and memory and to express particular feelings and a sense of place and time. I work something like a jazz musician who hears a bass player and a drummer, the three improvising together and swinging the piece forward. In my painting process, line, color and plane interact with each other and push each other until they reach a harmony, a unity.”

“Nature is the only teacher” was the motto of the 16th-century artist and illustrator Joris Hoefnagel. Nature, pleasure and innuendo is the collective title for both the watercolor drawings, drawings and prints Rochelle Toner made for this show. “Through a process of drawing and discovery I look for shapes, forms, and images that have the suggestive powers of mystery and illusion,” she said. “When I arrive at an image with these qualities, I try to render it with a strength and clarity that will make the forms believable and tactile. I’m fascinated by these abstracted botanical, architectural and physiological references, and how they can metaphorically evoke human nature and human interactions.”

The lines, shapes, and colors in Bill Scott’spaintings often remind him of the branches, buildings, rooftops and sky visible from his studio window. “There’s a small garden behind my house that has been the starting point of numerous paintings over the past twenty years, including Perennials; the make-believe garden in my paintings is far more verdant than anything in my backyard.” While the titles of my paintings often refer to specific places, I am not a “realist” painter. I strive to create a fictional harmony in my work-fictional because, in life, harmony is so fleeting. In my pictures I try to make this harmony permanent.

For Paula Chamlee, making art is an expression from the soul that awakens and expands her feeling of connection with the world.

“The earth from various points of view and an interest in geological formations-particularly rocks, cliffs, precipices and canyons, and the effects of weathering-have inspired much of my work for the past 25 years,” said Paula Winokur. Although abstract in composition and appearance, most of her pieces have their beginnings in what she sees in the real world. Melting glaciers and icebergs experienced during recent visits to Alaska and Iceland have provided the raw material, and are then translated into porcelain objects.

The James A. Michener Art Museum is located at 138 South Pine St., Doylestown, Pa. Museum hours: Tuesday through Friday, 10 am to 4:30 pm; Saturday 10 am to 5 pm; Sunday noon to 5 pm. Admission: Members and children under 6, free; adults $15; seniors $13; college student with valid ID $11; ages 6-18 $7.50; under 6 free. For more information, visit www.michenerartmuseum.org or call 215-340-9800.