Feature Articles

November 2013

8 A Fine Art Gallery in Southport, NC, Features Works by Karen Crouch and Janette Hopper

8 A Fine Art Gallery in Southport, NC, will present The Mark of Our Hands, featuring works by Karen Crouch and Janette Hopper, on view from Nov. 15 through Jan. 30, 2014. A reception will be held on Nov. 15, from 6-9pm.

Gallery Director Don Baker has brought these two artists together because their art seems to speak the same language, if with a different dialect. “Their art is intriguingly sparse yet very emotional.”

“Conclave,” Karen Crouch’s new body of work, draws inspiration from Celtic mythology, Native American lore and fairy tales. She creates works using torch and fire… heating and forming the bronze. Crouch creates actual textures on her work’s surface with files, various abrasives and chemical patinas, which draws one closer, wanting to touch and feel.

Crouch writes “My metal sculptures are grounded in the structure and movement of living things. I began by welding found objects together with a small MIG welder in a borrowed corner of a friend’s welding shop. One day I ordered a sheet of bronze, cut into it, and began to shape two botanical panels for an arbor. With the first iris petal I knew where I wanted my art to go. I love the torques and curves and complex shapes that grow around us. Bronze, shipped to me in flat sheets and unyielding rod, seems hard and industrial. My joy comes from bringing it to life. Although I begin with a vision, the sculpture takes its own direction; if I will listen it will be a better piece. The found metal pieces grow from collected shapes. Sometimes I have an idea; sometimes I just start juxtaposing parts until an image emerges. If I am patient and listen, the sculpture will tell me where to go”.

After more than 30 years of trial practice Crouch traded in the law office for the welding shop. She works in bronze, copper and steel to create organic pieces for house and garden. An avid gardener, she grounds her work in the structure and movement of living things.

Janette Hopper’s sources come from North Carolina nature – the shapes of the long leafed pines, the ebb and flow of marshes, and wind swept beaches. She brings the textures of bark and wood touched by fire into her works, textures that one feels must peel off the paper of their own accord. Hopper uses printmaking techniques incorporating chine colle, sumi ink drawings and watercolor. In her prints there is an illusion of form and depth with layers of materials and textures from monoprints, collographs and woodblock prints.

Hopper says, “Each print is a one of a kind work, made with the artist’s hand. The mixed-media work on exquisite papers combine my own sumi ink brush work and washes, pen and ink drawing, watercolors, coffee stains, and the printmaking techniques of linocut, collograph, wood grain, chine colle and monoprinting. I use charcoal gathered from the long leaf pine forests combined with egg yolk to invent new paints and inks. I cut pieces of wood in different shapes and burn them to raise the grain for printing. I use ghost prints, overlaying of images, tearing and drawing. By the process of sorting, arranging and rearranging, these disparate pieces come together into a greater whole, driven by the memories in my mind’s eye. I am mimicking some of nature’s tricks. As a child I found beauty and wonder in the fields, trout streams and mountains. Through my work I hope you too can feel the wonder of nature.”

Hopper is a retired University Art Professor who has taught in Denmark, Germany and the United States. She has received a Fulbright grant from both the United States and Denmark for her work. She has had numerous solo shows in both the US and Europe. Hopper’s works are owned by the National Park Service, several State Collections, Public & Private Museums and Municipal & Private collections in both the US and Europe.

For further information check our NC Commercial Gallery listings, call Don Baker at 910/457-1144 or e-mail to (DonHBaker@yahoo.com).

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