GearBox Gallery is pleased to present Skin of an Octopus, featuring new work by Harry Clewans and Linda Ellinwood. Drawn to things that are in a state of disrepair or decay, both Clewans and Ellinwood revel about things one might find in a gutter or washed up on a beach––a broken light bulb, a battered plastic toy, a piece of driftwood or a dried piece of kelp. For them collecting such objects offers insight about how they once worked or were formed and inspires new constructions and artwork that is entirely their own. This approach allows them to explore the ideas that all things, by virtue of their makeup are connected, and that all things participate in a cycle of composition and decomposition, in which the old, the broken down, and the disposed up, become material for the new.
Clewans makes woodcuts of found objects and has built up an extensive library of images from which he makes prints that are cut up and arranged to form larger, complex compositions. Like mosaics or jigsaw puzzles these larger works are typically comprised of hundreds of individuals pieces that fit together to form a picture on a wood support.
Ellinwood works with natural materials—branches, palm-stems, seaweed, leaves, seeds, pods—that are commonly ignored, mulched, tossed aside, walked on, invisible; collecting them wherever she finds them in the landscape and storing the smaller, delicate ones in a vintage seed cabinet. To her, they are intrinsically beautiful, haunting, and humorous. By juxtaposing them in unexpected combinations, they begin to speak, becoming creatures — beings.
Harry Clewans is largely a self-taught artist working his studio in Oakland since 1983. He has exhibited extensively in California, nationally and abroad and was awarded the James Phalen Award for printmaking and a fellowship at the Kala Institute of Art. His art consists of unique large scale woodblock prints made by a system of assembling hundreds of prints together to form the larger image. His work can be found in the collections of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Art, Mills College Art Collection, and the Judah L. Magnes Museum. He is a member of GearBox Gallery.
Linda Ellinwood began studying art with an arts minor at Eastern Michigan University while majoring in special education for the visually handicapped. After 2 1/2 years, she took a break to get her PhT and when she resumed, she got her BFA from Western Michigan University in painting. During the next ten years she had transitioned to three-dimensional work and was accepted to California College of Arts and Crafts in both the sculpture and textiles departments. She received her MFA in Textiles from CCAC IN 1981. Since then, she has shown her work in exhibitions throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and is a current member of GearBox Gallery.