Metal and Paint Show, Columbia Gallery – 2009
I love rust. I just do. The texture, the variety of patterns, the richness of the patina, the having-no-idea-what-it-will-do-when-I-paint-on-it-ness. We all know that beauty is only temporary and well, using rusty metal as a base for art seems like a great way to thumb one’s nose at nature. It also helped that my friend, metal artist, Jeremy Furnish, had scads of the stuff hanging around his forging workshop. So, on a whim, we decided to create a series of work celebrating this lowly material. Our efforts were showcased at the Metal & Paint Recycled Art Show at the Columbia Gallery in St. Helens, Oregon, in 2009. Here are some pictures of the things we got up to…
Jeremy works mainly in forging, welding, and manipulating a variety of metals and felt we could really create some unusual pieces. In order to use what we have, we decided to stick with only found or recycled materials…minus the paint, mind you. The plan was that I would paint pieces of metal in different states of rust (love the color and texture) and with whatever I gave him he would incorporate his work into mine and we’d see what happened. It was grand! We created a total of 12 pieces and sold 3 of them right off the wall!
The juxtaposition of bright, shiny color coupled with the rough, weathered surfaces and unexpected combinations of materials really made the show an engaging body of work. Another success of this show was experiencing the process of working with another artist and coming up with a personal design then handing it off with no say as to what the other artist does with it and hoping for the best.
It was kind of like opening presents at Christmas – it was SO hard to wait to see what you were going to get!
Overall, the work was wonderfully compelling. Not only was it received well with the community at large (it was so much fun to explain to gallery guests the humble origins of much of the materials within the work) but other working artists responded favorably.
I will say I regret a few things:
1. I am NOT a gifted photographer so the pictures are complete poo, I mean COMPLETE poo. The work was so much more vibrant and intricate – the gloss vs matte simply could not be captured with my limited skills and basic digital camera.
2. I cannot find a complete set of pictures of this series. I moved a few years ago and only have a small number of the works on file.
3. My lovely friend and talented artist, Jerm, moved and we lost touch. It was amazing to work with someone that got me artistically and complemented my work and style and he pushed me to be a better artist. That is what I miss the most.
You cannot create in a vacuum. You need the company of other artists to explore, refine, critique, and grow as an artist.
It was nirvana and I will find it again, but dang, it was swell while it lasted. Jeremy did teach me to TiG and Stick Weld (or is that the same thing?) Anyways, I have a little cracker box welder of my own and will probably do a bit of my own Metal and Paint series someday. Just have to find a plethora of rusty, weirdly shaped metal pieces somewhere… anyone?