Catasauqua Press

Tuesday, November 13, 2018
PRESS PHOTO BY ED COURRIERFrom left, artists Will Hübscher, Judith Shevell, James A. DePietro, Julie Miller, Cathy Christy O’Connor, Douglas Ihlenfeld, standing next to his “Progression” sculpture, and Nancy E. Steffy during the April 22 opening reception for “Putting It Together” exhibition, Town Hall Rotunda. Copyright - © Ed Courrier PRESS PHOTO BY ED COURRIERFrom left, artists Will Hübscher, Judith Shevell, James A. DePietro, Julie Miller, Cathy Christy O’Connor, Douglas Ihlenfeld, standing next to his “Progression” sculpture, and Nancy E. Steffy during the April 22 opening reception for “Putting It Together” exhibition, Town Hall Rotunda. Copyright - © Ed Courrier

‘Putting It Together’ at Town Hall Rotunda: Bethlehem Fine Arts Commission mixes it up

Thursday, May 10, 2018 by Ed Courrier Special to The Press in Focus

The Bethlehem Fine Arts Commission contacted seven area artists to participate in “Putting It Together,” an invitational show through May 31, Rotunda Gallery, Bethlehem Town Hall, 10 E. Church St., Bethlehem.

“Every year we do a curated show with a theme,” says James A. DePietro, a member of the fine arts commission. “Putting It Together” has a mixed media theme involving “artists working with multiple imagery,” he explains.

“Heaven and Earth,” a mixed media painting “put together” by DePietro is a realistic painting of a wheelbarrow in a landscape garden rendered in acrylic on two wood panels, framed by a trowel and pair of work gloves made from clay. This work, like others in the exhibition by DePietro, seamlessly incorporates the two-dimensional with the three-dimensional.

Created from found objects, the shadowbox-like “All the Pretty,” an assemblage, is one of Will Hübscher’s pieces in the exhibit. A print of a young Japanese woman looks out from a box festooned with jewelry and decorative woodwork into a similar box it’s attached to. Hübscher said he finds pieces for his assemblages while walking his dog or going to flea markets.

Judith Shevell’s “Ginkgo Biloba” is one of five art quilts she has in the exhibit. At center is a ginkgo sprout with roots appliquéd atop the cell structure of the plant that had been taken from a photomicrograph, manipulated in Photoshop, then printed on cotton sateen fabric. Shevell says she began with plant anatomy as the subject for her quilts, then transitioned to narrative quilts. Shevell has since returned to creating a series of plant anatomy pieces that tie in with “What got me started as an artist, my love of botany,” she says.

Cathy Christy O’Connor’s “The Dream,” a mosaic, features a sleeping woman’s face with one eye open to her dark dream of a black bird spreading its wings. The raised edges of an old table top frames the piece.

O’Connor employs found objects in the more whimsical 3-D piece, “London Aquarium,” also a mosaic. Porcelain figurines of an upper-class, 18th-century man and woman are facing away from the tank where a mosaic sea creature checks them out with its giant eyeball. “I love found objects. I’m getting more into that,” O’Connor says.

Julie Miller seeks found vintage images, then combines them with photographs she has taken herself. Miller assembles the visual parts in Photoshop to create eclectic works like “She Lives Inside Stories Older Then Birds,” a photographic collage.

“The title refers to the timelessness of storytelling,” says the artist, who literally dreamed up the title. “I often dream in phrases,” Miller explains. The digital piece features a young woman sporting a halo composed of flora, fauna and machinery. These include mushrooms, leaves, ravens, tentacles, feathers, zebra, and a steam punk train-like contraption with gears for wheels curving around the edge of it.

Wire basket-like and rising up from the floor, Douglas Ihlenfeld’s “Progression,” a metal sculpture, is his tallest abstract piece in the exhibit. Ihlenfeld favors welding non-ferrous metals like copper, bronze, and brass. The son of East German sculptor Klaus Bielefeld, who emigrated to the United States in the late 1950s, says he found inspiration in his father’s work as well as that of his dad’s employer, artist Harry Bertoia.

“The Ancient Ones Who Came Before No. 3,” unglazed stoneware, by Nancy E. Steffy is a piece that resembles delicate fossil-like bones. The artwork is in five separate pieces that appear to have been bleached white by the sun. They are assembled together, one atop the other, to form a hanging sculpture.

Steffy, who had been a potter for many years, says, “I got tired of that and branched out to try to do one-of-a-kind things. So, I started to do wall sculpture.” Inspired by skeletal remains of animals she had seen while hiking in the woods, “This is my interpretation of something that might have lived awhile ago, but is no longer,” she says.

Gallery hours: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, Closed weekends. Information: bfac-lv.org