By Denise Coffee
Special to The PREVIEW
SHY RABBIT Contemporary Arts continues The ART of it ALL 2 through Jan. 11. The exhibit features the work of Pagosa springs ceramicist, Susan Marti-Serra.
Martin-Serra presents two striking earthenware sculptures, titled “The Fig Harvest” (platter with hanger) and “Red Robe, Red Shoes (bas-relief tile on board with hanger).
Primarily a ceramist, sculptor and tile maker, Susan is also an artist/illustrator who tells stories with clay.
“Working with clay is peaceful,” she said. “It slows you down and grounds you on the spot. I am always energized and excited each time I begin a new project in clay.
“I love the fact that clay is a natural material with a long and rich history of use in art and architecture. It is malleable and durable and can be seen as a metaphor for what is ever changing, yet fixed in time as an artistic creation.”
Martin-Serra strives to create art that tells a story, speaks to an audience and involves the viewer in an emotional experience that will be memorable and meaningful. Much of her art is highly tactile and provides the viewer the experience of touch as well as sight. To feel the art brings the experience to a much more personal level and fulfills a natural desire to physically interact with what the eyes perceive.
Martin-Serra’s inspiration comes in many forms, but the drama and beauty of the San Juan Mountains surrounding her home and studio in Chromo is where it begins. She finds nature to be an unending source of intrigue and creative energy.
Dreams also play an important role in her life and art. Susan is a believer that dreams often contain messages from the subconscious mind that offer insight and act as “sign posts” along the journey of life. Her quiet surroundings provide a perfect atmosphere to reflect and collect ideas from both the internal and external realms. The processes used in creating her pieces — drawing and sketching, preparing the raw clay, pattern making and relief carving, the painting of images and, finally, the firing of the work — is a challenging, but wonderful journey.
Martin-Serra’s artwork is stylized through the use of distortion and departure from traditional perspective. While tile art is her primary focus, some of her personal art forms are hand-built and created specifically for particular images.
This diverse show includes 90 original works of art by 46 emerging to nationally recognized artists from 15 U.S. states.
The range of artworks on display include contemporary basketry, fiber, bronze and ceramic sculptures, collage, digital, hand-formed recycled stainless steel sculptures, mixed media, paintings, fine and re-purposed furniture, fine art prints, drawings, photography, assemblage, ceramics, wax-resist egg shells, fabric art quilts and glass, among others.
Among the lengthy roster of artists selected for display are several other Pagosa Country residents, including Sandy Applegate, Valentina Bezney, Todd Condon – Todd Condon Fine Furniture, Kathie Disner, Linda Echterhoff, Charla Ellis, Buster Griggs, Ursala Hudson, Ivy King, Polly McLaughlin, Dee Pitchon and Clay Vyzralek.
The inclusion and thoughtful blending of fine art, craft and, in some instances, function, is at the core of this exhibition, opening the door to a much wider display of individualized interpretations of various art forms.
SHY RABBIT is located at 333 Bastille Drive; two blocks north of U.S. 160, off of North Pagosa Boulevard, and is open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at no charge. Visitors are welcome to tour this premier contemporary arts venue at their leisure.
For more information on SHY RABBIT, visit www.shyrabbit.com or call 731-2766. For more information on exhibitions, visit http://www.shyrabbit.com/Exhibits.html.