February 2018: Susan Opie & Bryn Harding
Susan Opie will be showing her bronzes in a show she titles “Animals and Oddities”. “Early on I made abstract sculpture, but soon figurative elements crept in and then figurative took over. I am concerned with the story figurative tells but still remain interested in the way shape and space work together. My figures are often animals, sometimes human and occasionally inanimate objects. I like a sense of motion and action. My figures are doing things, sometimes at their own peril." While there is often whimsy, especially with the Exquisite Corpse series, look for a darker undertone, of human world versus animal world, technology versus nature. Her process is to hand model the piece in wax, encase it in a ceramic shell mold, burn the wax out of the mold, heat bronze, pour into the molds, knock the molds off, finish and patina. The bronze she use is silicon bronze, a modern alloy formulated with the property of pouring very fine detail and used originally in manufacturing precise industrial components. This bronze is also corrosion resistant and, therefore, a good choice for outdoor installations. The downside is that it is a very hard bronze and the finishing work on the castings is time consuming and wears out tools. All of Susan’s sculptures are one of a kind.
Bryn Harding’s print series “Alone. Together.” is simultaneously a theoretical and intensely personal investigation into the impossibility and importance of the portrait. The images are all friends and family of the artist rendered through a combination of different print mediums that result in images that are at once specific and vague, highly rendered and flat and graphic. “The work is based on the belief that we are, each of us, infinite and unknowable–mysteries to ourselves and to those around us, and that the impossibility of ever fully understanding ourselves or others results in a universal sense of loneliness and isolation. These portraits challenge the idea of a core, innate and inexpressible true self which other portrait artist have spent their careers trying to capture. Instead they argue that what can be know of the other, or of ourselves, is only present in discourse, in a shared gaze, in the space in between rather than inside of people.” In a broad sense, Bryn has used the unique language and aesthetics of print mediums to explore the relationships between technique, craft and art, as well as the relationships between pictures, technologies and seeing. Ultimately, Bryn uses images as a way to process and understand himself, the world in which he finds himself and the people around him.