Sculptors, photographers and painters came together Thursday evening as the Carroll Arts Center held a reception for three simultaneous exhibits, spanning a variety of media. At the event, artists and art lovers alike came to take a look at the sculpture collection "Reach," photographs of "Puros: Vistas of Cuba" and the mixed-media work of "The Umbrella Project."
This exhibit, featuring lean sculptures casting shadows upon the gallery walls, is being displayed in the Art Center's Tevis Gallery. Visual arts coordinator Susan Williamson said the exhibit is designed to reflect the increasingly chilly weather.
"After the chaos of Gallery of Gifts, where we have 35 artists in here and not an empty space in the gallery, it was my idea to do something sparse," Williamson said. "I love winter; I live for winter, and I like the starkness and quiet of winter. I think we need it."
To support the winter theme, Williamson said she began searching for artists who were creating tall, cylindrical work that is reminiscent of walking through a forest in winter.
The exhibition features Celtic-inspired work from Patrick McGuire, which combines wood and metal to create an blend of calligraphy and animal imagery; recycled woven vessels by Virginia Sperry; and sculptures featuring hands and arms reaching up through natural ceramic wraps by Terry Whye.
Williamson said one of the highlights of the show is Mary Bowron's series of elongated human forms fired in an anagama kiln, an ancient form of Asian pottery oven. The twisted forms took on new colorations in the fire.
"The work responds to man's irresponsibility to nature," Williamson said. "She said she considers a lot of her work to be ugly, though I think it's beautiful and very intense and other-worldly."
Patrick Timothy Caughy, who created ceramic containers for natural branches, said his artwork reflects his passion and devotion as a member of the Franciscan order.
"My art is all about the Franciscan love of beauty and the love of nature," Caughy said. "I spent my time looking for the natural winter palette; that influenced the coloration of the work itself. The winter has a beauty that is often overlooked. There is an invitation to stillness that we're offered. For me, I wanted to make work that harmonized with the seasons or the vision of the seasons."
Williamson said she was impressed by the work of the ceramic artists exhibiting in the show.
"It can be a lot to ask of a ceramic artist to make something very tall," Williamson said. "When you're working with clay, you can have an idea conceived and you can get it out there in clay, and all of a sudden clay decides 'I don't want to do that.' It can happen at the end of the process where the kiln gods and goddesses decide to play horrible tricks, and it's either exploded or the glaze has spun out."
At the event, guests commented on the bold shadows cast by the pieces and the materials used.
Puros: Vistas of Cuba
In May, the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce sponsored a nine-day cultural exchange trip to Cuba with 40 Carroll countians. The group visited Camaguey, Cienfuegos, the Bay of Pigs and Havana. During the trip, many of the members took photographs to commemorate their time there. Upon their return, Williamson said, photographer Becki Maurio pitched the idea of hosting an exhibition of their work.
The Puros exhibit features photographs from five of the travelers: Stella Fouts, Sharon Hafner Yingling, Don Hobart, Becki Maurio and Mike McMullin.
Hobart said the trip was something new for him photographically.
"It was a different experience for me as far as photography goes," Hobart said. "On other trips, I focus on animals or things of that nature, but on this trip I took a lot of photographs of people. The people were phenomenal, and it was amazing to be able to capture that."
The artwork features a number of close-ups of Cuban citizens and architecture as well as vistas of the country's coastline. Williamson said she was impressed by the work that came out of the trip.
"I love when photographers do people. The exhibit largely focuses on people and architecture," Williamson said. "In the architecture, you can see the bones of what was one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Its history and its future are all in flux now."
Williamson said only a few of the artists had exhibited their artwork in public before. She said though it can be nerve-racking, she coached them through the process and helped them choose their strongest pieces.
In the upstairs Community Gallery, the Carroll Arts Center is hosting Vince Coates' and Amy Svec's "Umbrella Project," a multimedia gallery that features abstract art and depictions of umbrellas, windmills, flowers, fish, graffiti and more.
Coates said the project grew out of a single photo series of umbrellas and flashlights that he worked on in downtown Frederick in January 2012. Soon the idea grew to encompass his other passions.
"I work in a number of different forms of artwork. I'm a painter, writer, sculptor and I have a real creative spirit," Coates said. "I started continuing the 'Umbrella Project' by linking my pieces under the old-school phrase of being under a person's umbrella. The idea is if you do art or writing or any kinds of projects, they reflect you and there's a way to link that."
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesays, Fridays, Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays. "Puros: Vistas of Cuba" and "Reach" are on view until Feb. 28, and the "Umbrella Project" is on view until Jan. 17.
Where: Carroll Arts Center, 91 W. Main St., Westminster