City gallery offers metal sculpture

VERGENNES — Creative Space Gallery’s latest exhibition considers what an artist can do with metal as their medium of expression.
The show “Working Metal, Creating Art” will open at the 214 Main St. gallery in Vergennes on June 29, and will run through Aug. 12.
Six Vermont artists rise to the challenge with works on display in this show. They are: Kate Pond, sculptor; Chris Cleary, sculptor; Warren Rinehart, blacksmith; John Arthur, coppersmith; Kathy Mitchell, silversmith; and Meg Walker, sculptor. Meet the artists and see their work at an opening reception and wine tasting this Friday, June 29, from 5-8 p.m., with drinks courtesy of Vergennes Wine.
Here is a little bit about the artists:
Kate Pond of Burlington, who is known for large-scale outdoor sculptures in steel and stone, recently completed the World Sculpture Project, connecting art, science, nature and culture in five site-specific works in different countries around the globe. At Creative Space see her maquettes (three dimensional studies) from which full-scale sculptures can be commissioned, and a series of smaller works cut and shaped from steel plate.
“My sculpture invites participation with people, and with the sun, shadows and alignments at different seasons of the year, ” Pond said. “Inspiration can also come from curves I see in nature: fiddlehead ferns and tendrils of vines or grasses moving in the wind. I transfer these ideas into calligraphic strokes, first with ink and a brush. Later I cut the ‘strokes’ out of steel, bending them into shape with the heat of an oxy-acetylene torch.”
Chris Cleary of Jericho works in both natural stone and metal. Over the past few years, he has discovered a love for the process of assemblage rather than reduction. What began as a progression of marrying stone with copper has morphed into complete freestanding sculptures using copper and brass. (His work “Seagrass” is pictured, left.)
Cleary said he relishes up-cycling copper and brass antiques, with the use of silver solder and flame. Copper piping and an array of fittings serve as the foundation for each piece, which incorporate a range of implements from years past, creating something entirely new.
“Each piece shares the story of time and nature,” Cleary explained. “The work is constantly evolving, as I am always experimenting and exploring with properties of each medium.”
Warren Rinehart of Middlebury, by profession an orthopedic surgeon, has been passionate about blacksmithing since the 1970s. Soon after moving to Addison County, he suggested and supported construction of the Rinehart Blacksmithing Arts Center at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, which houses his own workshop and five teaching forges.
“My love for forging has taken me all over the world,” Rinehart said. In addition to spending time working on creative projects of his own, Rinehart founded the LCMM Blacksmithing Guild, hosts an annual gathering of regional blacksmiths, and occasionally teaches classes of senior citizens or students from the Northlands Job Corps Center or Middlebury College.
John Arthur of Shelburne works with flame-colored copper to create artisan metal sculptures for wall, tabletop and garden that combine natural and imaginary plant forms, insects and other motifs inspired by rambles in the mountains, streams and meadows of the Champlain Valley.
“Canoeing in the backwaters of northern Vermont brings me into intimate contact with dragonflies, lily pads, cattails, autumn leaves and more. I enjoy recreating these scenes in sculpture,” Arthur said. “I use copper extensively in my work, and the coloration is accomplished by heating to bring out the colors inherent in the metal itself.”
Kathy Mitchell of Panton works in many media. She combines a sculptural sensibility with an eye for exquisite detail as she forms jewelry in sterling silver, copper, brass and other materials.
“All of my pieces are made by my own hand, beginning with metal in sheet or wire form, and each is one of a kind,” Mitchell said. “Nature and Native American designs have been a strong influence in my jewelry.”
Meg Walker of Charlotte was inspired by barns in Vermont and her native Scotland to create a series of sculptures in metal that explore the geometric forms and surface texture of these iconic rural buildings in new and sometimes whimsical ways.
“I am always interested in the process of making art: how the flitting images, feelings and words in my head are transformed into concrete, tactile, visual forms,” she said.

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