Marcy Lansman: Again this year, I have been painting scenes from nature using a palette knife with heavy body acrylic paints. My technique is to put down an underpainting of random bright colors and to superimpose on that background a scene from the outdoors that is roughly based on a photograph. (The result often bears little resemblance to the photo.) Why the underpainting? Why the palette knife? Well it turns out that it’s impossible to control the palette knife as precisely as you would a brush. On the other hand, it’s easier to create random, organic shapes. So random speckles of color from the underpainting show through in the finished product. And the effect of those random speckles, rather than being distracting or bothersome, is interesting and pleasing (at least to me). The interaction between random and controlled elements is central to my art and, I believe, to many kinds of art.
Ellen Reinhold: When our exhibit title was suggested many months ago I remember responding that I felt more muted than unmuted these days. Death, destruction and isolation seem to rule the world. I wondered if I could find a path relating to it in my paintings. Luckily, the theme eventually wormed its way into the work. While I have a penchant for spare winter tree forms that pull many of my paintings into a melancholy space, Unmuted has pushed me out into the summer sun. At least a little bit.
Lynn Wartski: After a year of being aware if one was “on mute” or not, it is wonderful to communicate directly once more. I like my sculptures to always speak for themselves. Bright colors, interesting titles, details that jump out on close inspection, or perhaps a piece or two that say a bit more?Unmuted can mean each of these things. This year I’ve created anthropomorphic figures that will speak directly to viewers in the gallery again. I find that I enjoy the challenge of imbuing these art dolls with human characteristics as minimally as possible. One often encounters an animal or object merely dressed in clothing. Alternatively, I try to draw out an expression, posture, or single element in the figure to tell its story. Each of my figures is needle felted wool over wire and quilt batting. I create most of the accompanying elements for each piece, like an elephant’s trike, rhinoceros’s mask and staff, or an owl’s medicine bag. Glass and crystal beads, embroidery, and faux leather are just a few of the materials I incorporate that transform these needle felted dolls into mixed media sculptures.