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March 2, 2004 > Experience Rock/ Paper/ Scissors

Experience Rock/ Paper/ Scissors

Olive Hyde Exhibit Review

by Arathi Satish

Friday the thirteenth was a good omen for the Tri-Cities. "Rock/Paper/Scissors," a new exciting exhibit at the City of Fremont's Olive Hyde Art Galley, opened on Friday, February 13th and runs through Saturday, March 20th. The exhibit features the work of three Bay Area Artists - Debra Koppman, Lesley Cantor-Fillihee, and Judy Johnson-Williams.

Debra Koppman, has been making things out of recycled materials. She has been influenced by folk arts of many cultures - North and South America, Africa, and Asia. Ms. Koppman comments: "I have been especially drawn to the rhythms and patterns heard in music, felt in dance, and found on the textiles, the doorways, and the stones made by living people and past ancestors. I also have been inspired by folktales, which tell of fantastic creatures, powerful goddesses, and inanimate objects which come to life either through the intervention of divine beings, or through faith, or simply by magic. I have spent time thinking, writing, and talking about the relationships between art and the sacred, particularly within the context of cultures which do not make quite as sharp distinctions between seemingly disparate aspects of life as western culture tends to do. I believe that art has the potential to be a connector out of the ordinary and into mystery and magic".

In Debra's artwork, the original identity of the recycled materials is obscured and totally reconfigured through layers of paper mache and paper pulp. Recycled materials provide the basis for starting an artwork and a rejected item is brought to redemption! Many objects are off-balance, with repeating rhythms and pattern. They do not imitate things in the "real" world and hence viewers can inject their own interpretations. Debra hopes that her art pieces arouse interest when observed from both near and far; and like people in a community, function well individually and in collaboration with each other.

Ms. Koppman's works include: Point the Way, House of Spirits, Earth Dance, Sun Dance, Spirits Dancing Fire, Tesoros, Akewa, Red Spear, Standing Tall Copper, Red Spirit Dancing, Many feet Gold, Standing Tall White, Around and Around, I Wish, Star Gazer, Zar, Medea and Hokmah.

Artist Lesley Cantor-Fillihee uses simple wrapped and welded wire constructions as a framework for elaborate beadwork. She says that years of handcrafting beaded lighting inspired the transition to welded and hand-forged metal sculpture that often included glass bead embellishment. "My influences come from everywhere - history, art, travel, fashion, nature, and fantasy. The largest contributors to the work are those delightful glass devils themselves. I am fascinated that the slightest shift in color or pattern can evoke a feeling of not only another part of the world but another time".

The resulting art appears functional and takes the form of pods, cocoons, ladders, and lattices. The structure and the process go back to ancient times; the method is slow, methodical and meditative in nature. Work on display includes Specimens of Flight, Organika's Wing, Pod One, Winter's Lure, Winter's Home, Strange Ripening, Flotsam and My Anxiety.

Judy Johnson-Williams uses cardboard in her work. She removes layers from the cardboard with an x-acto blade to reveal a variety of textures. "All cardboard is different and since my cardboard is recycled, it had a previous life and it shows. I like it as a metaphor for people and their problems, which also have histories. These histories impact the final outcome, even if only negatively. Visually, the marks on the cardboard make it more exciting and sometimes add to the challenge of making my vision work with that particular piece of cardboard. All of which keeps me actively engaged in the work and searching for ways to make it a more powerful statement."

Judy's art is striking and captures the attention of viewers, leaving a lasting impression. Using a lot of edges in her art, she concludes by saying, "Even though this method can be frustrating and tedious, the precise "nitpicking" nature of my chosen media causes me to think more deeply, creatively, and further into the edge that the artwork represents for me. At times, the accumulation of all these details produces an exhilaration of creation and insight. For the viewer, I think the "busyness" and detail does the same, drawing them more into the work, as well as whatever dilemma the work represents for them".

Ms. Johnson-Williams remarkable work consists of: Zone of Turbulence, Not Clearly Seen, Inevitability of Change, A New Season, Alone, Response, Future Holds, OilyWaters.

Olive Hyde Art Gallery
123 Washington Blvd., Fremont
(510) 791-4357

Thursday - Sunday
12 p.m. - 5 p.m.

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