Three Unique Visions in Metal:
Artists Jane Dennis, Charlotte Mansur and Leslie Stuart Matthews
January 13 – February 25, 2017
Opening Reception: Friday, January 13, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Florida CraftArt presents Sharp Edges: Snip…Stitch…Bang, featuring the metal work of Jane Dennis, Charlotte Mansur and Leslie Matthews. New to Tampa Bay area audiences, these three mid-career artists blend strong and intriguing content with meticulous craft. Although the artists hail from different parts of America, the materials they use are common -- thread, wood, wire, metal, rescued and reimagined. All are chosen carefully for their textures, images and colors.
The assembly of the artwork is elegant, accented with a rhythmic punch of stitch, lace or a nail. Old content morphs and re-emerges yielding new patterns and images. While they all use recycled materials, each artist has her own method and technique.
Jane Dennis, from Ithaca, New York, tells fantasy stories in her work using many materials including scraps of aluminum and steel flashing from her husband’s construction business. She originally trained in printmaking.
“As a printmaker, I had inked metal plates, but flashing which is bendable, easy to cut and full of nail holes, filled a gap in my mixed-media vocabulary. In my mixed-media pieces, I like finding connections within a piece, between concepts, forms and materials.”
Leslie Stuart Matthews who is an artist as well as a curator, lives in Villanova, Pennsylvania. She worked for many years as a jeweler and mixed media artist, but now chooses to use a common metal for her artwork.
“I quilt cans. Soda cans, beer cans. I cut the metal with scissors and I sew the colors and patterns together with my sewing machine. You wouldn’t believe what you can sew with an old machine. I love that sewing is like construction.”
Closer to St. Petersburg is artist Charlotte Mansur who lives in Bradenton. Years ago, she met Leslie Matthews at Moore College of Art in Philadelphia. After Mansur earned her Master of Fine Arts in sculpture from Maryland Institute she moved to Florida, opened a gallery on Longboat Key and then an eclectic restaurant called Mr. Bones on Anna Maria Island. Today, she often recycles materials used in the restaurant, such as empty tin cans or beer signs.
“I work as if the small tin pieces were brush strokes,” Ms. Mansur says. “I start with an image, and through time spent alone in my studio, the idea behind the image makes itself clear. I liken it to a whisper that gradually turns into a shout, in my mind.”
All three of these artists are attracted to common, yet unusual materials for making art to produce these extraordinary bodies of work.
The exhibit is curated by The Oiseaux Sisters – Susan Dollmaker Andrews and Carolyn Fellman – who are also mixed media artists. They migrate seasonally between upstate New York and Gulfport, Florida.
Sharp Edges will be on exhibit from January 13 to February 25, 2017. The public can meet the artists and hear about their work at the opening reception on Friday, January 13, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Admission is free of charge.
Check FloridaCraftArt.org for special events such as artist demos and craft-making fun. Docent tours Wednesdays at 1:15 p.m. January 31 - February 5: Sacred Arts Tour of Tibetan Buddhist Monks (students of H.H. Dalai Lama) will create a sand mandala with millions of colored grains of sand, along with artistic workshops and culinary events.
Florida CraftArt is a nonprofit organization founded in 1951 and headquartered in St. Petersburg. Its mission is to grow the statewide creative economy by engaging the community and advancing Florida’s fine craft artists and their work. Fine craft art is presented in its 2,000-square-foot retail gallery and a large gallery features curated exhibitions. Florida CraftArt is the only statewide organization offering artists a platform to show and sell their work.