Feature Articles

August 2013

The Bender Gallery in Asheville, NC, Offers Works by Susan Silver Brown

The Bender Gallery in Asheville, NC, will present Susan Silver Brown, Visionary Sculptor, on view from Aug. 1 through Oct. 1, 2013. A reception will be held on Aug. 2, from 5-8pm, during Asheville’s Downtown Art Walks.

The Bender Gallery is proud to announce the representation of visionary sculptor Susan Silver Brown with the arrival of five of her exquisite cast lead crystal and bronze sculptures, on view in the exhibit, Susan Silver Brown, Visionary Sculptor. Her bold use of color, intricate detailing and provocative subject matter yields a body of work that is both visually stunning and spiritually moving.

Brown began her career at UCLA as an ancient and African/Oceanic Art historian. She has always been interested in mythology, anthropology, and why art is so essential in society. Her philosophical studies quickly metamorphosed into a passion for art. Prior to working in glass, she had a lucrative 15 year career creating small scale sculptural wearable art.

An extensive traveler, Brown became inspired for her body of work while on a pre-historic cave art expedition to Lascaux, France amidst cave paintings from 25,000 years ago. The artist considers her journey of being an artist an “intoxicatingly passionate” one and describes her body of work as “Ethno-Primitive Surrealism”. It draws heavily on Buddhist thought, Jungian psychology and shamanism. The surrealists Chagall and Dali have been major influences as well as Georgia O’Keefe, Frida Kahlo and Francesco Clemente. With her art, Brown confronts our struggle with existence, temporality, impermanence, love, and loss. She does this by interconnecting animal and man, nature and god energy.

Between their sheer beauty and ethereal imagery, Brown’s sculptures are sensuous and thought provoking. For instance, Hollow Heart’s Flyaway depicts interconnected male and female figures sharing a single hollow heart. Surrounded by birds which are symbolic of eternal life, their countenance is one of happiness and serenity. On the back of the sculpture are two butterflies adorned with glass eyes, connoting divine providence and foresight. The base of the sculpture is a nest of twigs embellished with bronze leaves.

Celestial Cocoonings is about becoming who you were meant to be in life by reinventing your history. It consists of a pair of sculptures made up of two billowy clear cocoons. Three half bird - half man figures sit at the base of each cocoon. Bird-men are a famous motif of Easter Island and further the rebirth imagery of the work. Birds are twice born; once from the mother and once from the egg. On top of each cocoon rests a bust, one male and the other female. The male wears an elaborate headdress while the female is bedecked with jewels and palm fronds. Each figure is trimmed with flowers and shells and a bird rests on top of each of their heads.

Brown has lived in the desert southwest for over 25 years and works out of her studio in Scottsdale, AZ. The sculptures, which can take up to six months to complete, are made using the lost wax process which is very similar to the bronze casting process. She begins by sculpting a piece in clay and then makes a series of molds in which to cast the crystal. The molds, which can weigh up to 500 pounds, take special equipment to transport and maneuver into her large kiln. After casting, each piece is then cleaned and finished with painstaking care using dental equipment, diamond tools and sandblasting apparatus.

Brown’s work has been widely exhibited in fine galleries across the US and is included in several museum and private collections including those of Robin Williams, Cher, and Michelle Pfieffer.

The Bender Gallery focuses on contemporary glass sculpture and houses the region’s most extensive studio glass collection. The Bender Gallery represents established internationally recognized glass artists as well as promoting the work of promising emerging artists in the field of glass.

The artists showcased at the gallery employ a wide array of techniques and styles in their work. The work is both representational and abstract in nature and explores themes of nature, emotion, dream imagery, human form, social commentary and the qualities of light, structure and transparency.

The mission of the gallery is to assist experienced as well as new collectors in an approachable environment.

For further information check our NC Commercial Gallery listings, call the gallery at 828/505-8341 or visit (www.thebendergallery.com).


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