2012 January 21
Two very fine mosaic artists had gallery openings last week in the San Francisco Bay Area. By coincidence, both of these women, Kate Kerrigan and Ellen Blakeley, were selected by Crocker Art Museum Curator Scott Shields for inclusion in Mosaic Art NOW’s 2010 Exhibition in Print. Chilly winds and rainy streets notwithstanding, if you are in the area we highly recommend that you put on your galoshes and take advantage of the opportunity to see beautiful mosaics in gallery settings.
Kate Kerrigan, whose February Morning, Paris is seen above, has opened her one-woman show “Urban Scenes” at Focus Gallery in San Francisco’s North Beach area.
Kerrigan is well-known for artful mosaic interpretations of her own photography.
Whether photographic or mosaic, Kerrigan’s evocative image making captures isolated human elements within repetitive urban shapes and patterns. In February Morning, Paris (the work selected for MAN’s 2010 Exhibition in Print) a solitary figure can be found found lingering on a park bench within a field of recurring trees, lamp posts and grates.
In her mosaic interpretation of this photograph, Kerrigan has chosen to apply the classical mosaic background pattern known as opus circumactum to the street pavement–adding yet another pattern and, at the same time, providing a much-needed visual differentiation from the background and sidewalk areas.
Kerrigan captured another solitary human element within urban patterning in this wonderful photograph of an aqua alta filled Piazza San Marco in Venice.
Here is Kerrigan’s mosaic interpretation.
Kerrigan was named a finalist in the international mosaic competition known as the 2009 Orsoni Awards for another watery mosaic, Rainy Day, Central Park.
What you can’t see in these photos is Kerrigan’s skillful, careful use of white gold smalti to represent the rain-shiny pavement in the original photograph. All the more reason to go the exhibit if you can.
Our favorite in the group of mosaics being shown at The Focus Gallery is The Red Umbrella
Finally, the rain has stopped and our unseen friend is home safe and dry.
Kerrigan tells us that the opening was a great success with a full house of happy viewers–and buyers–all evening long. The seven mosaics being shown comprise the total of Kerrigan’s mosaic work since 2007; she is nothing if not meticulous. The exhibit runs now through February 1st. Details below.
Ellen Blakeleyis showing three works in the group show “Bakers Dozen” at the Quicksilver Mine Co. in Forestville, CA. We made attending the opening part of a Saturday safari through west Sonoma County.
All three of the works in Bakers Dozen are from Blakeley’s “Bark Series.” In these homages to the beauty in nature, Blakeley applies her signature mosaic technique–broken tempered glass over a melange of paint, pigments, and metallic powders–to pieces of oak bark and wood she finds on walks in a vineyard near her studio.
It was one of the first works in this series, Meredith, that Scott Shields chose as Best in Show for Mosaic Art NOW’s 2010 Exhibition in Print.
Quicksilver Mine Co. is showing Blakeley’s latest and one can see how the work has evolved, becoming even more complex and rich. These next two mosaics are so new that they have not been to the professional photographer yet, so we put our iPhone to work on Sunday.
In the detail photograph above, one can see Blakeley’s genius with color and texture at work; the artist creates whole worlds to explore.
Of the “Bark Series Blakeley” says
As an artist, I can’t compete with nature–merely pay my respects intuitively. The shapes are gently curved. The outlines are organic, random and totally non-human–delightful boundaries to work into.
Enjoy – Nancie