KINGFIELD – Towering variations of electric yellow, startling blue and sea glass green welcome viewers into the depths of the Stadler Gallery barn.
In this, Ulrike Stadler’s eighth summer of art exhibition, artist Ellen Roberts of Farmington, took Stadler’s assignment of “going bold” seriously in her work titled, “Fast Fiber.”
The 12-foot-tall installation of banners pressed and printed in bright color and design hang from the rafters to illuminate the cool, shaded dark of the 170-year-old barn. Each monotype print is created when stencil, string and bright color are pressed onto heavy cotton-rag-layered paper.
“It was really a challenge,” Roberts said looking up at her work. “I’ve never gone this big.” A student of the structural patterns found in nature, Roberts’ work is a compilation of her extensive experience in fiber art. A weaver and sculptor, she began working in this monotype print process only a year and
half ago after taking a class at University of Maine at Augusta. The show’s title, Fast Fiber, refers to the relatively more immediate results when compared to her work as a weaver.
Her stencils and string create patterns of color that resemble the work of weaver. She says the photos she’s taken of everyday life, such as the vacuum cleaner cord piled on the floor like spaghetti, provide inspiration for her patterns.
“I took that image (of the vacuum cord) and used it abstractedly,” Roberts said. “For me, it’s about domestic life and having to juggle all of that.” And juggle she does with two busy children, a household and her time-demanding art work.
“It’s breath-taking,” Stadler said looking up at Roberts’ work as it swayed from a drift of air finding its way into the barn.
Adjacent Roberts’ colorful work in the barn is the ceramic work of Shawn O’Connor. Having lived in rural Maine all his life, O’Connor is currently enrolled in the MFA program at Syracuse University. The show, which runs through July 31, also features his recent ceramic work. Pitchers, mugs, a butter dish and more are wholly organic in their look and smooth-textured feel. Browns, grays and smoky, speckle-white glazes are layered over the practical forms that are meant to be used everyday.
Also a treat are the paintings Stadler’s young students have created which hang on the walls surrounding O’Connor’s work. Bold colors and interesting subjects, her young artists, some of whom began studying art with Stadler when they were five and are now 11, show obvious and exciting new talent.
The artists’ work is on exhibit from July 1 through July 31. The Stadler Gallery is open daily from noon to 4 pm and by appointment. For more view http://www.stadlergallery.com