May 2012: Larry Halvorsen & Mabel Astarloa Haley

Larry Halvorsen’s ceramic sculptures and sculptural vessels are inspired by ancient stone tools, ritual objects, architecture and forms from nature. “I am attempting to carve out my place as a contemporary object maker, with honor and deep respect for those who came before. My recent focus has been work for the wall, including groupings and individual pieces and the introduction of a gloss surface in addition to a matt surface, lava and obsidian. I use stoneware clay, a traditional craft material, to explore both traditional and non-traditional forms.” The pieces are constructed using a combination of hand building techniques including coils, press and slump molds and slab building. All the pieces are coated with black glaze, and then using the classic technique of sgraffito, then he carves through the glaze, exposing the natural clay beneath. The carving on all his pieces is the result of a lifelong exploration of line and pattern.

Mabel Astarloa-Haley’s present work consists of abstract images in black, white and gray in oil pastel on canvas paper. “This series is a departure from the more traditional, representational work I have been doing up to now. With no realistic subject to refer to, it is been a liberating experience to let the visual images take over after the initial strokes.”  By using a rag dipped in turpentine and using her finger she establishes a tactile contact with the surface. This enables Mabel to " travel" physically with the medium as it sets up on the paper. The next step is to establish certain directional movements that will determine a workable composition. From then on it is a question of modulating tones, intensity and quality of lines, empty spaces etc., that will define a balanced totality. To quote Mabel, “Black, white and the world of grays with its rich tonal variety gives me an ample source of experimentation as well as satisfying the mood to best express my "anima".”