Conversations in Sculpture – Curatorial Statement

HappyAccident2EditedConversations in Sculpture
Debra Lehane, Curator
Presented by the Voigt Family Sculpture Foundation at Paradise Ridge Winery, Santa Rosa, CA.

Curatorial Statement

“Let us make a special effort to stop communicating with each other, so we can have some conversation.”
– Mark Twain

We live in the information age. We text, tweet, email and post constantly as we walk about with phones in our hands or stare at computers on our desks. Hours are spent touching icons and scrolling screens. We are in constant communication, but as Mark Twain says, let’s stop communicating so we can have a conversation.

A conversation is an exchange of ideas. An idea is a formulated thought or opinion. Conversations are verbal and nonverbal. The nonverbal conversation involves observing body language, tone of voice and attitude when conversing with another person. The nonverbal communication with sculpture is the visual discussion that the sculptures convey between each other, within the environment and with the viewer. The verbal conversation is the statement provided by the artists that presents their ideas and concepts in words. Conversations by their very nature are interactive. Conversations in Sculpture is about the art and artist initiating conversations.

The works created by the eleven artists in Conversations in Sculpture explore topics such as: global warming, home and cohabiting, inner and outer space, nature verses man, opposites, visual communication, technology, chirality, conflict, Tetris and geometry in nature. As one would expect, the art is as diverse at the topics and are executed in a wide variety of materials including, steel, ceramics, wood, concrete, porcelain, Styrofoam, solar kinetics and polyester webbing. Some sculptures are traditional objects created in the studio. Some works are site specific. Some works were created just for this exhibition.

It is also a diverse group of artists. The group consists of five women (Terry Berlier, Dee Briggs, Linda Fleming, Jin Lee and Sabine Reckewell) and six men (Joey Enos, JP Long, Nathan Lynch, Mark Malmberg, Welat Najeeb, and Gregory Pagel). They come from various geographic regions: Bay Area, East Coast and the Middle East. The artists each approach their work in unique ways. Some work abstractly and others are representative. Some engage in social commentary such as voicing concern for the environment and others offer the purity of the object. Some of the work has a performative quality.

The elements that pull Conversations in Sculpture together are the shared colors, patterns, materials and forms. Lynch, Fleming, Long and Enos employ colors. Pagel and Malmberg share pattern. Reckewell and Berlier share linear form. Briggs, Lee and Najeeb use steel with dramatically different results.

All the artists are showing for the first time at Paradise Ridge Winery. Each artist has provided a statement about their work and has posed a question to serve as a conversation starter.

So as you walk through the exhibit, put your phone away. Observe how the sculptures interact with the environment and each other. Consider the questions and learn about the ideas. Most importantly, however, have some conversation.