Archives: 2015

T Barny and Peter Burega

As all sculptors know, there are infinite shapes lurking within the stone, and it’s the artist’s job to “liberate” these shapes by judiciously removing and carving the surrounding material to bring the sculpture to life. When T Barny applies his ancient carving techniques and modern tools to the hardness of the stone, magical things happen. “Stone is man’s oldest material,” he points out, and he honors that antiquity by coaxing the difficult material into shapes and curves that show us new ways to appreciate its versatility.

“Life is a transition, and my sculptures reveal that,” says Barny. “The lines and edges flow around and through each other like arteries and veins in the human body, bringing the blood back to the heart.”

His Möbius strips—single, endless loops with edges so fine they’re translucent—are indeed reminiscent of the circulation of a life force, and they let us see the stone in a new way, more like a living, breathing entity than an unyielding, inanimate substance.

Barny’s bronze sculptures evince a similar effect. Unlike most bronzes, which are modeled in clay or wax before being cast, his are created in stone first, allowing him to retain the dynamism of his materials. “It gives them integrity,” he says.

Peter Burega’s paintings emerge in a fashion not unlike sculpting. But instead of releasing his work from stone, he creates his own critical mass by applying paint liberally to his board, then selectively scraping it off in a subtractive process that lets serendipitous visual effects emerge. His work has a sculptural, architectural quality that belies the two-dimensional nature of painting, with moments of stillness contrasting with bursts of energy that pull the viewer in, as if into a vortex.

“I’ve been experimenting with ways to break down the barrier between art and the viewer,” says Burega. “I want to make it tactile, with more texture—a more organic approach that shows more of my process.”

That process involves deeply scoring the boards to create a kind of grid, which serves to rein in his almost chaotic approach to painting and bring some calm and resolution to the otherwise frenetic outpouring of unfettered expression. The result is exquisite abstractions that manage to both soothe and stimulate, with colors both warm and cool mingling in a cauldron of emotion.

About T Barny: “As a young child I loved to make sand castles on the beach. But, people never recognized my castles because they were really my first abstract sculptures. I have worked in almost every material, form, and scale; from carved stone to neon, argon or mercury gas-filled blown glass; from classical clay figures to welded or cast metal abstract objects; from jewelry size sculptures to monumental forty-foot fabric installations and landscape garden designs. This encompassing experience drew me back to the oldest material of Man, the one that I continue to find the most expressive … Stone. My stone sculpture created out of hard rock appear almost soft.”

About Peter Burega: “My paintings blend documentation of the real world with my own physically exercised psychology, and are often described as containing dualities: organic/linear, man made/natural, ordered/chaotic, structured/amorphous. I believe that these dualities represent my striving for calm and balance in my life, and that the juxtaposition of my aggressive, abstractive energy with structured form consistently results in my most successful work.”

Ted Gall and Charlotte Foust: Bronze and Steel Sculpture and Mixed Media on Canvas and Paper

The artistic stylings of sculptor Ted Gall and painter Charlotte Foust couldn’t be more different, but their work has in common a powerful emotional impact that leaves the viewer pondering hidden meanings and experiencing a sense of excitement.

Gall’s intricate, whimsical sculptures in bronze and steel bring an interactive element to an otherwise immobile art form, allowing us to literally see beyond the masks of his enigmatic characters and enjoy the same tactile pleasure that the artist himself derives from his work. The strong narrative thrust of Gall’s fanciful characters and situations invites us to attach our own personal meanings to the stories played out amid the odd juxtapositions and imaginative imagery. The sculptures’ movable parts and the energetic postures of characters engaged in mysterious activities bring a special dynamism to this work, and an almost dreamlike atmosphere pervades each of his highly detailed evocations of life’s mysteries.

Foust’s abstracted bursts of color and form pull the viewer into a vortex of energy. Amid the drama of her expansive brush strokes and bold palette we find moments of stillness that provide a number of entry points for interpreting the organic lines and marks that give the paintings structure and cohesion. She layers the paint and incorporates the textures of her surfaces into the overall work, imparting a sense of dimensionality and motion to the paintings while bringing a certain discipline that tames the raw emotion of the abstractions.

“I don’t try to analyze my feelings or my process,” says the artist. “I try to turn those things off when I paint, so that what emerges is an abstracted expression of all that I’m going through, all that the world is going through. Working this way lends itself to endless possibilities.”

Join us from 5-7 p.m. MST on Friday, August 7th for the opening event. For more information on the exhibit, go to HunterKirklandContemporary.com

Rick Stevens Interwoven Life

Rick Stevens grew up in Sparta, Michigan and started painting with his father, an amateur but skilled landscape painter. His earliest memories of watching his father work are contented ones filled with images of his father manipulating scenes of nature: painting trees, rubbing out streams, adding wildlife. In fact, it was one of these early experiences, in which a teenaged Stevens convincingly painted a Canada goose in flight into one of his father’s paintings, which launched him on his journey as an artist.

Nature is always at the heart of Rick Stevens’s painting, both as content and as a source of inspiration, but he has long resisted the label of landscape artist. While his earlier work was clearly landscape-based, in recent years he has abstracted elements of nature to create richly hued oils and pastels that shimmer with color and pulsate with vitality. Paying attention not only to lines and shapes, Stevens addresses the spaces between them with equal intensity to produce a sensation of motion, of energy fields that interact before our eyes.

His newest series, Interwoven Life, signals a subtle shift in his approach as he returns to his roots as a plein-air painter. He now blends his studio-crafted abstract expressionism with more recognizable elements of nature from his al fresco sessions as he embraces the Taoist concept of wu wei, which means “non-action” or “non-doing.”

“Wu wei is an effortlessness that happens through you rather than being created by you—you allow the inspiration to flow by getting out of the way. Instead of fighting it, I go with it. A lot of my work right now relates to tree forms, but I sometimes flip them or turn the shapes on edge to become a horizontal line, changing the orientation of the painting.”

As a student of many spiritual disciplines, Stevens underscores his reverence for the natural world by exploring universal principles of physics and metaphysics. His paintings emit an ethereal glow, as if lit by an unseen but powerful cosmic source.

Stevens career has consistently gained momentum since the start of his career. His work has been exhibited throughout the Great Lakes Region, including solo exhibitions at the Muskegon Museum of Art and the Brauer Museum of Art and Valparaiso University. Stevens has been awarded five artist –in-residencies in national parks since 1993. Hunter Kirkland has represented Rick Stevens since 2004.

Jennifer J. L. Jones, Artist at Hunter Kirkland Contemporary

Jennifer J. L. Jones Kachina Triptych

Life and death…action and reaction…ebb and flow…life moves in cycles and nature echoes those cadences. My work is increasingly inspired by the intrinsic rhythms of life. Changes in the world around me flow in and through my brush. External forces are internalized and spill back out as I paint. My brushstrokes mirror nature’s vibrations as soft pools of light peek through blossoming gardens, fiery fuchsias ignite crisp blues. Each painting becomes a reflection of the pattern in which I find myself at that moment the mood, the colors, the energy of each painting are as unique as the path I travel. These paintings are a part of me and part of everything. We are one rhythm.

Beauty is everywhere and as an artist I interpret that beauty, whether it is found in the grace of a falling leaf, the burnt edges of a flower, a kaleidoscope of cloud formations, a glass-topped lake, or millions of crushed shells along a stretch of beach. My work is both a physical manifestation of my experiences found in nature and the spiritual guidance therein. An expression of what is not only seen, but felt. Painting is for me, an intuitive process, each studio session becoming a form of meditation. Pushing ahead through process and paint, layers build symbolizing change, time, and growth. These layered glazes of color and mixed media create mood, atmosphere, and a vibration of energy unique to each viewer interacting with the final piece.

My travels shape my path as an artist and have led me to a true and authentic understanding of myself and the source of my muse. Learning to trust and remain open to a genuine place of inspiration and the changes brought with each sojourn. Every journey, relationship, and experience has sculpted my nature and provided a plethora of inspiration for my work.  As each series is created, this invisible thread creates a life-quilt, my work becomes a reflection of my own odyssey and an oracle through which the observer may glimpse their own pilgrimage.

More information on the May 2015 Jennifer J. L. Jones event at Hunter Kirkland Gallery on Canyon Road.