Visual Arts

Back to the basics

This weekend's Gallery Hop is elemental: Many of Friday night's exhibits concentrate on representing the five elements: metal, fire, wood, earth and water.

The Living Arts and Science Center brings metal and fire to the forefront in Cast Offs!, a metal sculpture exhibit featuring Lexington artists Gerard Masse and Michael Maxson. Currently the artist-in-residence at Tuska Studio and Fine Art Foundry in Lexington, Masse sculpts pieces that, through the use of low relief, resemble drawings made of metal. Maxson, owner of The Atelier metal sculpture studio in Lexington, shows through his works a more formal underlying structure that results in an expression of the fantastic.

The two artists not only are exhibiting at the LASC's Singletary Gallery but will help the center celebrate its 40th anniversary. As part of a community public art project, Masse and Maxson will conduct two community workshops in metal casting on Saturday. The workshops are free, and children and adults may participate in the creation and design of molds for casting metal-relief block sculptures. The designs will then be cast at a portable foundry on the LASC grounds on May 17 as part of the Family Fun Day festivities.

”We'll be using the blocks to turn into a public sculpture that will go in the Children's Garden on the grounds,“ says Heather Lyons, executive director of the LASC. ”It's an exciting opportunity for the community to participate in and see a metal pouring.“

You can't participate in the art at Main Cross Gallery, but you can see how the artist's hand manipulates various elements so that they reference each other. Metal artist Woody Woodill's enameled and textured copper wall pieces move beyond the metal and paint to exude an organic temperament. Within the metallic blue enamel circles of certain pieces, one can find a peaceful lake, surrounded by a coppery haze of a sunny day.

Directly relating to the organic nature of Woodill's art is the work of fellow exhibitor Joe Dietz, a bonsai cultivator. The bonsai, a Japanese landscape aesthetic of miniaturized and shaped trees, provides elemental contrast to Woodill's abstract vistas.

Within the metal and wood of Main Cross Gallery's exhibit is a visual reference to traditional landscapes, a popular choice of subject matter for Friday's Hop.

Check out these galleries for artwork featuring the elements of earth, wind and water:

■ Heike Pickett at CMW will feature work by the late Southern painter John Boatright. He was known for his landscapes of wildlife refuges, and his later works show increased attention to the horizon. ”The clouds and skies became much more of what he was interested in,“ gallery owner Heike Pickett says. ”Painting was what he loved, and he did what he wanted.“

■ Miller Fine Art and Framing's Impressions of Light features Cincinnati impressionist painter Mary Jean Weber. Filled with the quick brushwork for which the style is known, Weber's work also demonstrates a peaceful attraction. ”Her work captures a quiet pause,“ gallery owner Deborah Miller says. ”A lot of them have roads in them — (they are) intriguing because, as the viewer, I'd like to stand there or keep walking down the path.“

■ At the Central Library Gallery, the Warwick Foundation presents the urban landscape of yesteryear in Bluegrass Victorian. Featuring historical and contemporary photographs of Lexington's Victorian architecture, the exhibit focuses on the Romantic styles mentioned in Clay Lancaster's book on the subject, Vestiges of the Venerable City. ”The venerable city of the book's title is Lexington,“ says Doug Tattershall, the library's media relations coordinator. ”All of the works in the exhibit are examples of Lexington's best Victorian architecture.“

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