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May 11, 2004

 

MEDIA CONTACT: 

Matt Lindsay: (202) 994-1423; mlindsay@gwu.edu

 

GW M.F.A. STUDENTS PRESENT COMPLEMENTARY VISIONS THROUGH CERAMICS AND PAINTING IN THESIS SHOW,

STICKS AND STONES

 

EVENT:         

 

The George Washington University Dimock Gallery and the Department of Fine Arts and Art History present Erin Farnsworth and Shelley Stevens' Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) thesis show, Sticks and Stones.  

 

WHEN:          

 

Opening Reception: Wednesday, May 12, 2004, 4 - 6 p.m.

Exhibition Dates: Wednesday, May 12 - Friday, May 21, 2004

Gallery hours: Tuesday - Thursday, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m - 3 p.m.

Saturday, May 15, 10 a.m. - noon, Commencement weekend "Open House"

 

WHERE:       

 

The George Washington University

Dimock Gallery, Lower Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st Street, NW

Washington, D.C. (Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro, Blue and Orange lines)

                  

COST:           

 

Free and open to the public.  For more information call 202-994-1525.

 

BACKGROUND:

 

Utah's rock formations, red-orange sentinels thrusting up against the sky, informed the monumental approach to painting rocks applied in Erin Farnsworth's oils. By entwining found branches and roots with ceramic vessel forms Shelley Stevens creates positive and negative convolutions in space. Both artists look to encounters with nature for their inspiration.

 

Varying the media through the use of oil paint, watercolor and lithography, Farnsworth focuses on a central theme: the depiction of stones and rocks.  In her watercolors the jewel-like colors and the smooth, shiny surfaces of the polished rocks shimmer transparently. In the lithographs, as in the watercolors, the artist arranged the stones in groups, often forming them into lines or circles. These works show not merely mastery of the media but also Farnsworth?s hand in the careful placement of stones. In contrast, the oil paintings depict rough, natural, found rocks that are similar to the landscape in her native Utah. Farnsworth's emphasis, however, is on the rocks' displacement, which she evokes through situating them in spare, interior settings. "Moving the rocks from their natural setting to a studio environment emphasizes the dichotomy of humankind vs. nature," said Farnsworth. 

 

Very few ceramists combine wood and ceramics. In this unique endeavor, Stevens began the process of making her sculptural teapots by collecting mountain laurel branches and burls from the Appalachian foothills.  "I love both wood and clay...they look like they naturally go together," said Stevens. The natural twists and bends in the wood inspired the forms of the ceramics that she combined with them. The superb integration between wood and ceramic belies the technical difficulty of their creation. Because the clay shrinks 5-13 percent depending on the firing process, Stevens had to develop full-size clay models. In order to accurately take into account the final shrinkage, the final teapots were made solid, cut and hollowed out, then pieced back together. Stevens also experimented with many clay bodies, glazes and firing techniques. A few of the test pieces are on display. Each of the final one-of-a-kind teapots demanded a month of hands-on work.

 

For more information about the University Art Galleries, call (202) 994-1525.

For more news about GW, visit the GW News Center at www.gwnewscenter.org.

 

- GW -

 

 
 

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