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Artist's Process Talk: An Explorer's Journey
Ann Holsberry & TaVee McAllister Lee
June 22nd, 2-4pm
(talk begins at 2:30pm)
At first glance Harry Clewans and Lloyd Hamrol might be considered an unlikely combination. Clewans works in the realm of large, intricately assembled, two dimensional, narrative pieces while Hamrol presents minimalist soft sculptural works of a more intimate scale. Unexpected and intriguing relationships emerge when considering their work in exhibition together at Gearbox Gallery through May 25th, 2019.
An L.A. based sculptor well known for large scale public art installations, Lloyd Hamrol has turned his attention back to studio works in the last decade or so. Reminiscent of his landscape-embedded minimalist constructions, the works on display at GearBox Gallery retain a similar pure architectural simplicity while flirting with the gentle undulations inherent in Hamrol’s chosen indoor material. Peter Frank explored the transition in Heart Felt, a 2009 essay on Hamrol’s work:
“To fashion his latest studio work, Hamrol has turned to felt. If not the perfect sculptural medium, felt would seem at least the perfect medium for fashioning three-dimensional objects. Its heft, its neutral coloration, its peculiar flexibility, and its historical, almost atavistic associations all render it malleable and resistant, provocative and familiar – a substance redolent with associations and yet readily fashioned into unpredictable shapes. A few artists have exploited these characteristics – but to such a degree, and at such critical times, that they have all but eaten up our regard for felt as an artistic material. Robert Morris’ experiments with felt, dramatically realized and rather quickly abandoned, examined felt’s relation to gravity and the formal (and metaphorical) results of that relationship. Joseph Beuys’ persistent engagement of felt in his sculptures, installations, and even performances tied our associations with the material to the specific (if apocryphal) role(s) the material played in his own life, imparting to felt an almost mysterious aura of allegory. In the wake of Morris’ and Beuys’ feltworks, anyone else’s is, unfairly, judged derivative. In both their shapeliness and their clever employ of felt, however, Hamrol’s new sculptures issue so clearly from his well-established sensibility that we can finally look past Beuys’ piles and Morris’ plies to a fresh recontextualization of felt itself – and, at least as importantly, a fresh new body of work by a veteran sculptor at the top of his game.”
While Hamrol’s chosen material is machined and industrial, his approach appears fluid and responsive to its inherent properties. In contrast, Clewans’ work has emerged from a somewhat unexpected and unlikely creative process involving carefully assembled components he creates using a personal library of nature-based symbols. In describing the process, Clewans says:
“I’ve always been drawn to things that are in a state of disrepair or decay, things one might find in a gutter or washed up on a beach––a broken light bulb, a battered plastic toy, a dried piece of kelp. For me, such objects reveal the effects of time and use, and offer insight into how they work and how they were formed or put together.
I’ve been making woodcuts of found objects like these for thirty years and have built up an extensive library of images from which I makes prints that I cut up and arrange to form larger and more complex compositions. Like mosaics or jigsaw puzzles these larger works are typically comprised of hundreds of individuals prints that I fit together to form a picture.
For every woodcut I’ve made I have a print pinned to a wall in my studio; I think of this wall as a kind of periodic table, and each woodcut as an element that I can use to create a picture. I may use a woodcut of a seedpod to describe the skin of an octopus or the surface of a tree trunk, a woodcut of a dried-up pear to articulate ground around an old well or the folds in a fabric.”
We invite you to spend some time in the gallery, observing how the pieces inform and relate to each other in a shared space, as these two artists have long observed and considered each other’s work across time and distance.