2013 Lancaster Community Art Exhibition

Parallel Spheres © Denny Boyd watercolor
Parallel Spheres © Denny Bond watercolor

I finally made it out to this exhibition at the Lancaster Museum of Art on Sunday. I have to say that it wasn’t as good as it sometimes is, though there were a few gems. I was terribly disappointed with how my bowl was displayed, it felt like it was just shoved into an alcove with no thought. Almost every other 3D work had its own pedestal. Oh well.

My favorite piece was a watercolor by Denny Bond – Parallel Spheres. It had great lighting with a deep black on the left hand side. There were also a number of things that had great reflective properties (the spheres, her shirt) and the realism in her face is wonderful. You might remember me mentioning his double self portrait from the PA Watercolor Show last Fall.

Wilderness © Linda Stetina
Wilderness © Linda Stetina

There were pieces by some Lancaster artist standbys like Ted Rasmussen, Mimi Shapiro, Heather Heilman Loercher, and Roberta Little that were all the cream of the crop this year. There was a sproingy steel sculpture by Nancy Baum that dominated the big room downstairs, and upstairs next to Roberta’s piece was Wilderness – a marker and ink work by Linda Stetina that I liked.

I know I need to keep in mind that it is an open community exhibition, but I did have to pay an entry fee, so I wish a little more thought had been made in placing my bowl. Next year I’ll just have to submit a giant sculpture that won’t fit in some tiny alcove or be dwarfed by the drawing next to it…

Secret Nest of a Dragon Flying © Roberta Little Winner of best named piece as far as I'm concerned
Secret Nest of a Dragon Flying © Roberta Little
Winner of best named piece as far as I’m concerned

Another disappointment was reading the awards juror’s statement:

“I mistakenly assumed the land of hex signs and furrowed fields would inspire hard-edged geometric abstraction and minimalism. Not so here, though, making me think that artists who see minimalism in their everyday lives might just as likely aspire to the expressionistic art you see [here]” – Edith Newhall

I’m not sure what the minimalism in the life of the typical Lancaster County person is supposed to be. It’s not the ’30s and we aren’t all farmers who can’t afford frills. People here don’t live minimalistic lives anymore than they do in Philadelphia. It’s just the typical prejudice that simple folk live here in the county.

Treading the Labryinth © Mimi Shapiro
Treading the Labryinth © Mimi Shapiro
Dwarf Bowl ©2009 WTEK lost next to that drawing. Plus it's about at knee height.
Dwarf Bowl ©2009 WTEK lost next to that drawing. Plus it’s about at knee height. and facing away from the viewer.

Sorry for the mini rant, I promise my next post will be a little less bitter. And, surprise!, it’ll be an in process post!

Added thought – maybe I shouldn’t have named it “Dwarf” bowl… that could’ve been seen as a challenge ;^)

Artist Interview – Naomi Ilgenfritz

Work Space IX ©2012 Naomi Ilgenfritz oil on panel 24" x 32"
Work Space IX ©2012 Naomi Ilgenfritz oil on panel 24″ x 32″

Another in my Art of the State artist interviews – painter, Naomi Ilgenfritz. When I first saw her painting, Work Space IX, online, I thought it was a photograph. The lighting in it is wonderful (plus there’s a scull in the still life.) You can find her online at Naomi Artist and see her painting in person at Art of the State: Pennsylvania 2013 at the State Museum in Harrisburg, PA.

1. How did you get started in your craft? (using your media)

I have had a pencil in my hand since I was big enough to hold one. And I have left more crayon residue on walls and window screens than my parents may have appreciated. But it was only six years ago (summer 2007) that I was first introduced to oil paints and I completed just one painting. For the next three years I tried my hand at everything from sculpture to ceramics to printmaking to graphic design – all of which I still love and try to keep my fingers in. But at the end of that time I picked up my oil paints again and I have no intention of ever putting them down.

2. What has been inspiring/influencing your work lately?

My recent work has been largely influenced by my time spent growing up in a loving tight-knit family with 11 brothers and 4 sisters. As you can imagine it was often difficult to

Untitled Space ©2011 Naomi Ilgenfritz oil on panel 48" x 60"
Untitled Space ©2011 Naomi Ilgenfritz oil on panel 48″ x 60″

find a quite space to call my own. Eventually finding that quite place became the target in my mind. Until the day when I at last found myself on my own and very much alone in the middle of nowhere and too broke to travel. At first the isolation seemed to be the perfect environment to inspire creativity, but it did not take me long to change my tune. I soon began to feel that my work had no impact outside of my tiny studio, it had no connection to the world and there seemed to be very little point in creating it. During those months of isolation I came to realize that I can not create in a vacuum. My recent work reflects the powerful human need to be connected to others while simultaneously revealing my craving as an artist to isolate myself and to be completely consumed in my work. It is the contemplation of the human presence through its absence.

3. Who are your favorite artists in your field?

The sensitivity of Antonio Lopez Garcia’s paintings and drawings, especially his interior scenes and household objects, never fail to take my breath away. And although the installations of James Turrell are a drastically different media than my own, his treatment of light and space has also had a profound influence on my work.

4. What is your favorite customer quote or story?

Summer in a Jar ©2007 Naomi Ilgenfritz oil on panel 16" x 20"
Summer in a Jar ©2007 Naomi Ilgenfritz oil on panel 16″ x 20″

I recently had viewer standing in front of a painting turn to me tell me that as strange as it may sound, my work made him have to use the bathroom. I was confused at first but he continued to explain that upon viewing the collection he overcome with the conviction that he had wondered into some secret and forbidden place and the thrill of it made him have to pee.

5. What is your favorite piece of art or fine craft that you own?

I am a young artist with a very young art collection. Most of the original works that I own are pieces that I traded for during my undergrad years and there are some amazing pieces among them. But I would be lying not to say that some of my very favorite pieces are on my wall of crayon drawings from my little brothers and sisters.

The Making of Jangala – Guest Post by Lynnette Shelley

This is another of my guest in process posts. Lynnette Shelley was featured here on Hammermarks before and has had a ton of shows already this year. This post was previously on her blog, Pen and Think, as a three parter in mid-February and all photos and videos are courtesy of the artist. But I wanted you all to see a different kind of artist’s process. Enjoy!

Jangala ©2013 Lynnette Shelley
Jangala beginning stages ©2013 Lynnette Shelley

I’ve been working on a new pastel artwork the past couple of days called “Jangala”. Jangala is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘uncultivated land’ and is the origins of the English word ‘jungle’. So this piece features a leopard against a fantastical stylized jungle backdrop. I took a few photos as well as short youtube video of me working on it.

I don’t like to play favorites with my artwork but I must admit I am very happy with how this piece turned out overall. Compositionally, I think it is very sound, and there is a lot of movement in the artwork despite the fact that the main subject is sitting still. The stylized plant life motif is colorful without (I think) being gaudy. I used a lot of exotic floral designs to play up the lush and fertile jungle aspects, while the leopard contrasts with a quiet stillness amongst the tangled overgrowth.

Jangala ©2013 Lynnette Shelley
Jangala ©2013 Lynnette Shelley

I am really liking how the oil pastels (and colored pencils) work on Ampersand’s Pastelbord, which is what I used on this piece. It’s definitely one of my new favorite surfaces to use with my art.

These photos are a little dark as a snowstorm is headed our way and it’s very overcast and rainy at the moment. The artwork is very vibrant in person. I am applying to a bunch of art shows this weekend so I’ll most likely add this piece to one of my applications so look for it at a future art show in 2013.

24 x 36 inches
Oil Pastels and Colored Pencils on Pastelbord

Jangala ©2013 Lynnette Shelley
Lynnette working on Jangala
Lynnette working on Jangala

A video of Lynnette working on the painting up to this point:

Jangala ©2013 Lynnette Shelley
Jangala ©2013 Lynnette Shelley
Close-up of Jangala ©2013 Lynnette Shelley

Lynnette talking about the process behind Jangala: