New body of work, oil paintings and works on paper, canvas, linen and board.
"Brian's Water Series was a tremendous inspiration in the conception of my film of THE TEMPEST. His surreal play with nature and the human form is not only visually exquisite but quite mysterious and moving. Amazingly, it is shot without any digital or visual effects enhancement, and thus it has a true visceral feel while the play of lighting on the figures and the elements is magical."
- Julie Taymor
New work by Brian Oglesbee in conjunction with his ground breaking imagery featured in the motion picture The Tempest, by visionary director Julie Taymor.
In the stillest hours, the most private glances inward, or in the midst of submerging dreams, we catch a glimpse of the world reduced to essential forms and symbols. Through them we think of what it means to be alive; we question and intuit answers; we burrow within and reveal hidden depths. While dreaming, we conjure scenes of both peace and chaos, reuniting with loves and confronting demons; sometimes we soar over landscapes and masses below with the most uplifting freedom, and other times we fly to escape what we cannot consciously face. Ensconced in such private visions, we in a sense are all photographers, artists-as-witnesses, distilling in powerful and concrete images the elemental mysteries of life..
From these authentic moments Misha Gordin wrests and forges his provocative photography, an intuitive and visionary body of work that remains gathered and focused on the image of the human figure. His images originate from a “turning inward toward his soul,” as he states, toward a plane of reflection where personal experience intersects with universal themes of life and death. Garbed in the raiment of symbolism, his work distills basic, epochal impulses -- hope, doubt, fear, communion of man and the struggle for individuality and freedom -- and casts the personal into something uniform and archetypal.
For Gordin the human figure, alone or multiplied, and magnified as a vital force of nature, is at the center of the image -- and even the entire image -- and remains the primary conduit of expression. The faces of his figures rarely show, and yet we approach his work as a kind of portraiture, compelled to look and to recognize ourselves, to interpret the syntax and rhythms of the body. We recognize in it the perennial theme of the individ- ual in search of homeland and of self-definition, and interpret his figures as icons, fallen angels, mythic protagonists. But first and foremost, they stand as mortal beings, and the spiritual dimension of the work is matched, even heightened, by an intensely physical presence.
By concentrating on core motifs -- nocturnal sky and recesses of darkness, heads lowered in contemplation, the body in constriction -- Gordin lends his work a uniformity and a simplicity, while at the same time achieving a versatility and range of expression. This palette is developed through a sequence of thematic series entitled “Doubt” and “Crowd,” from which he yokes a kind of narrative of mankind, a layered allegory of our proximate hopes and fears and anxieties.
The work carries a quality of storytelling, but it also draws upon a host of other disciplines, from film to dance and sculpture. Images from the “Doubt” series remind me of Dore’s engravings for Dante, as well as the spellbound poses of Butoh dancers; those from “Crowd” evoke dramatic mise-en-scenes from Bergman or Dreyer, while also recalling the monumental sculpture of Rodin. This is photography that shuns the banal and straightforward, synthesizing influences and impressions into a seamless and uniquely personalized idiom, a taut balancing of dreamworld and reality.
(Excerpt from an essay by Paul LaRosa)
The work of Ted Gall is both fantastical and psychological. Through the use of allegory and metaphor, Gall conjures archetypal figures in a myriad of situations. The scale of the work ranges from intimate sculptures barely a few hands high to monumental pieces weighing several tons. A graduate of the Art Institue of Chicago and the American Academy of Art, Gall’s work can be found in dozens of corporate and private collections across the US.
FRI DEC 09, 2005–TUE FEB 07, 2006
The Volakis Gallery is proud to introduce several new names to the wine region including the first video installation exhibited in the Napa Valley. The installation piece entitled Iodine is a collaborative effort by bay area artists Timothy Cummings and Shane Francis and Aaron Plant from Los Angeles. This installation is being exhibited courtesy of the Catherine Clark Gallery in San Francisco. Cummings work can also be found at the Rene di Rosa collection in Napa. New works by Andreas Nottebohm, Bruce Temuchin Brown, Jung Ran Bae, Heather Gorham and Vincent Serbin will also be on display along with other gallery artists.
Vincent Serbin’s new book entitled, Toward Omega, will be on hand for review. The book is published by 21st, one of the most exclusive fine art book publishers in the world. 21st books are released in editions of 100 copies or less, all handmade and costing thousands of dollars each. The Volakis Gallery will have three titles from the 21st collection for review including books by Sally Mann, Josephine Sacabo and Vincent Serbin. For the serious collector, the last edition of the 21st Master Collection, a complete collection of the entire 21st catalog to date (19 books containing 185 bound and loose original prints) is being offered for sale for $300,000.
Napa Valley artist Bruce Temuchin Brown will be debuting his first mural size copper plate photographs depicting images of a Jungian nature. Archetypal figures culled from the subconscious regions of the mind, hauntingly familiar yet pleasingly disturbing. Other works on display include photographs and paintings by Misha Gordin, Connie Imboden, Brian Oglesbee, Oscar Bernal, Anthony Padovano, Ted Gall, Richard Gariott-Stejskal, Suzanne Sbarge, Stephanie Gardner and Cathy Rose.
Jung Ran Bae, a graduate of CCAC with an MFA in sculpture, will be exhibiting the installation work entitled Cu. In her own words Bae describes the project:
“The objective of this project is to express my personal perspective of certain slang of the female genitalia by bringing to light some of their inherent obscurities through humor and beauty. Part of my motivation for this project also comes from my personal process to liberate myself from the cultural conditioning I received while growing up in my country about sexuality. In my research, I have discovered about 250 slang words for the female genitalia of which I selected 35 to visualize. This is the first batch in an ongoing installation...”
The installation combines fiberglass female figures with ceramic allegorical sculptures depicting the slang descriptions, which are then inserted into the region of the female genitalia. Both humorous and yet visually arresting, the work transforms the derogatory slang references into objects of beauty tempting the viewer into a titillating voyeuristic excursion.
Volakis Gallery in Yountville is proud to present the work of Brian Oglesbee, a black & white photographic exhibition entitled the Water Series, from September 15 through November 11, and host the release of Aquatique, Oglesbee’s new book.
The Water Series is a collection of large-format silver gelatin photographs, representing a 14-year period of experimentation with the visual interaction of water and the human figure. With no manipulation after the initial exposure, either in the darkroom or by digital means, the resulting collection of images amaze and surprise the viewer.
Aquatique, published by Palace Press Inter- national and distributed by Random House, is the artist’s choice of photographs from the Water Series. All of the images were created in his New York studio. Oglesbee set out to create the illusion of water in nature, to mimic the natural light of the sky and the effects of the outdoors. In doing so, he learned to build sets and devices that allowed the creation of otherworldly visual environments with wave forms, splashes, and fields of lensing bubbles.
In all the photographs of Aquatique, waves of water and light, bubbles, groupings of foliage and stones embrace figures whose gestures in turn shape their surroundings. Fertile waters bring the world and its spirits into existence, just as solutions of exotic chemicals give substance to the latent images of photosensitive film and paper.
Essayist Lesley Brill states in the Foreword of Aquatique, “Complete and self sufficient, Oglesbee’s photographs ask only for thoughtful, engaged viewing. Aquatique has an objectivity, an innocent straightforwardness, that is characteristic of the most primitive, simplest art—and the most sophisticated.”
Says Oglesbee, “For more than a decade, I have been experimenting in my studio with the optics of water and the potency of its visual metaphors. Water is essential for the very presence of life. As a symbol, it is remarkably compelling and, when combined with an equally powerful icon, the human form, it has allowed for a rich visual exploration to unfold.”
Brian Oglesbee was born in Chicago in 1951 and has been a student of photography since youth, working with Edward Sturr and in commercial studios while still in high school. He attended the Art Institute of Chicago where he studied etching and photoengraving with Vera Berdich, and photomechanical printmaking with Sonia Sheridan, and collaborated on artist’s books with Keith Smith.
Following a commercial photography career at Vogue-Wright Studios in Chicago, he moved to upstate New York where he taught the art of photography and printmaking at Alfred University.
In 1993, He was granted a U.S. patent for the invention of the Oglesbee Studio System, an array of modular components for set-building, camera support, and lighting control.
Oglesbee has been widely exhibited in one- person and group shows throughout the United States, Europe, Japan and China and is represented in such collections as the George Eastman House (Rochester, NY), the International Center of Photography (New York, NY), the Museum of Fine Arts (St. Petersburg, FL), the Musée de l’Elysée (Lausanne, Switzerland), the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston, TX), the Brooklyn Museum (Brooklyn, NY), and many private collections, including the Sir Elton John Collection (Atlanta, GA). He has given lectures and gallery talks throughout the United States, and has twice been granted fellowships by the New York Foundation for the Arts.
His work has been included in Face: The New Photographic Portrait, Flora Photographica:Masterpieces of Flower Photography. Portfolios of his work have appeared in View Camera, American Photo, Photo/Design and Metropolitan Home among other magazines.
SAT SEP 9, 2006 - SUN NOV 5, 2006
The Volakis Gallery will be exhibiting a stunning collection of original works by M.C. Escher. Included in the exhibition is one of Eschers masterpieces, Metamorphosis, a fourteen-foot long wood cut in two colors. Several works from the Emblemata series and the Scholastica series will also be represented. In addition to the two dozen or so wood cuts, several iconoclastic lithographs will be shown including Sky and Water I, Waterfall and an extremely rare piece entitled Verbum which depicts the initial seven days of creation from the biblical creation myth.
Escher’s first print of an impossible reality was Still Life with Street, 1936. His artistic expression was created from images in his mind, rather than directly from observationsandtravelstoother countries. Well known examples of his work also include Drawing Hands, a work in which two hands are shown, each drawing the other; Sky and Water, in which light plays on shadow to morph fish in water into birds in the sky; Ascending and Descending, in which lines of people ascend and descend stairs in an infinite loop, on a construction which is impossible to build and possible to draw only by taking advantage of quirks of perception and perspective.
Escher worked primarily in the media of lithographs and woodcuts. In his graphic art, he portrayed mathematical relationships among shapes, figures and space. Additionally, he explored interlocking figures using black and white to enhance different dimensions. Integrated into his prints were mirror images of cones, spheres, cubes, rings, and spirals. In addition to sketching landscape and na- ture in his early years, he also sketched insects, which frequently appeared in his later work. His first artistic work was completed in 1922, which featured eight human heads divided in different planes. Later in 1924, he lost interest in “regular division” of planes, and turned to sketching landscapes in Italy with irregular perspectives that are impossible in natural form.
Although not having had a training in mathematics, Escher’s understanding of mathematics was largely visual and intuitive. Escher’s work has a strong mathematical component, and more than a few of the worlds which he drew are built around impossible objects such as the Necker cube and the Penrose triangle. Many of Escher’s works employed repeated tilings called tesellations. Escher’s artwork is especially well-liked by mathematicians and scientists, who enjoy his use of polyhedra and geometric distortions. For example, in Gravity, multi-colored turtles poke their heads out of a stellated dodecahedron. The math- ematical influence in his work emerged in about 1936, when he was journeying the Mediterranean with the Adria Shipping Company. Specifically, he became interested in order and symmetry. Escher described his journey through the Mediterranean as “the richest source of inspiration I have ever tapped.”
In 1941, Escher wrote his first paper, now publicly recognized, called Regular Division of the Plane with Asymmetric Congruent Polygons, which detailed his mathematical approach to artwork creation. His intention in writing this was to aid himself in integrating mathematics into art. Escher is considered a research mathematician of his time because of his documentation with this paper. In it, he studied color based division, and developed a system of categorizing combinations of shape, color, and symmetrical properties. By studying these subjects, he explored an area that later mathematicians labeled crystallography, an area of mathematics.
Around 1956, Escher explored the concept of representing infinity on a two-dimensional plane. Discussions with Canadian mathematician H.S. M Coexter inspired Escher’s interest in hyper- bolic tessellations, which are regular tilings of the hyperbolic plane. Escher’s work, Circle Limit I, demonstrates this concept. In 1995, Coxeter verified that Escher had achieved mathematical perfection in his etchings in a published paper. Coxeter wrote, “[Escher] got it absolutely right to the millimetre.” His works brought him fame: he was awarded the Knighthood of the Order of Orange Nassau in 1955. Subsequently he regularly designed art for dignitaries around the world.
Escher also studied the mathematical concepts of topology. Escher learned additional concepts in mathematics from British mathematician Roger Penrose. From the new knowledge he created Waterfall and Up and Down, featuring irregular perspectives similar to the concept of the Möbius; Möbius himself being a mathematician who studied topology.
Escher printed Metamorphosis I in 1937, which was a beginning part of a series of designs that told a story through the use of pictures. These works demonstrated a culmination of Escher’s skills to incorporate mathematics into art. In Metamorphosis I, he transformed convex polygons into regular patterns in a plane to form a human motif. This effect symbolizes his change of interest from landscape and nature to regular division of a plane.
Many well known museums include original works by Escher in their collections. Some leading public collections include the following: The National Gallery in Washington, D.C., The National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, The Israel Museum in Jerusalem, The Escher Museum at The Hague, The Netherlands, and The Museum of Fine Art in San Francisco. Escher’s work appears in many of the finest private collections including the Schwartz Collection of Boston, the Walker Collection of San Diego, the Vess Collection of Detroit, the Roosevelt Collection of Palm Beach, and the Price Collection of Connecticut.
Suzanne Sbarge received her Bachelors Degree in Art History and Studio Arts from Barnard College in New York City and her Masters Degree in Art Education from the University of New Mexico. She has also studied studio arts at L’Ecole des Beaux Arts in Toulouse, France; Syracuse University in Florence, Italy; The Art Students’ League in New York City; University of Connecticut; University of Massachusetts; as well as Anderson Ranch in Colorado, Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, and Vermont Studio Center.
“I combine painting, photography, and collage in layered, experimental images to explore the endless possibilities for merging these complimentary media. My images are created by oil painting over mixed media photo collages. My work is primarily figure-based, with a narrative iconography conveying a sense of myth, ritual, twisted fairytales, and the surreal aspects of everyday life.
I am inspired by the alchemical tension between the paint and collage elements. “Pure” painters and painting critics have suggested that I paint my collaged imagery instead of cutting, gluing, and integrating them with paint. This would defeat the purpose for me, because the combining of media is integral to the message.
The juxtaposition of paint and collage causes the viewer to be jarred into an altered vision. Trying to visually figure out this tension causes one to look at the image with a different kind of perception. This “collaged state of mind” is what I look for in my own process and what I also hope the viewer experiences. The dialogue between the real and the surreal highlight life’s essential mysteries while serving as metaphors for life’s ambiguities.
My collages are narratives from my unconscious. I try to let accidents and chance, determine my choices while I compose collages. I have a background in archetypal psychology, which I’m sure comes into play.
I try to get in touch with the place where dreams come from to develop images that speak on a universal level. I like for viewers to find their own meanings and have their own experiences with my work. I seek to create images that are mysterious - to the viewer as well as to me. I like to be surprised by the strangeness, humor, and wisdom of the unconscious.”
We opened our doors in July 2004 with a group show of work by the following artists: Misha Gordin, Brian Oglesbee, Rocky Schenck, Suzanne Sbarge, Cathy Rose, Connie Imboden, Barbara Kline, Richard Garriot-Stejskal, Heather Gorham, Bruce Barnbaum, Ted Gall, Chris Honeysett, Emanuel Dimitri Volakis, Michal Macku and Bill Underhill.