• Julia Levitina

Peer Perspectives: Three Voices as One

While there may be several voices in this show, just like there are multiple notes in a chord, what we focus on is not objectified instances or stripped down tablature and not even individual chords, if we roll with the musical analogy. Rather, what we take in is our experience of the chords as a harmonious synthesis of their components, identified and enjoyed simply as music. “In this way, all identity is shared,” reflects sculptor Gary Weisman, when asked about the newest exhibition at the Stanek Gallery, titled Three Voices, featuring his sculptures in bronze, abstract paintings by Deborah Fine and figurative oils by Kerry Dunn.

Driven by meaningful narrative that dictates precise choreography for his figures in space, Weisman’s work is a continuously evolving philosophical search for truth by way of deeply personal insight. Though he created for many years from his imagination, Gary has been working with a few handpicked live models in more recent past. Clay, for him, is a tool for tracing an emotional experience that can be shared once it becomes sculpture. It is seamlessly transformed into bronze that Weisman, a sculptor but also a craftsman, if not an alchemist, extraordinaire, casts and finishes in a foundry he built at his home in upstate New York. Allegorical Minotaurs and literal words on tablets his newest figures are holding, are being lifted by or are leaning on, communicate to us in what the sculptor considers the primary language of experience and sharing.

Deborah Fine’s paintings are as evocative as they are atmospheric and delicate. They capture experience in a way that is surprisingly not dissimilar to Weisman’s figurative rendering of something as subtle as blowing out a candle and watching the smoke trail off. They are also pulled together by words, poetic titles that help frame her abstractions for the imagination. Fine, formerly a realist painter, discovered that working abstractly allowed her to explore color and balance in novel ways. For a long time, she gave preference to pastels but currently favours more environmentally friendly acrylics. Fine experiments with mediums and textures, invents proprietary colors and has been known to ruminate for weeks on a line that will visually pull together her pictorial frame before she considers it finished. Deborah’s work is a symphony of marks, applied to canvas over time and in layers, where one color and texture speaks to and invites another, until the eye travels around her canvases in just the way the painter intended.

Kerry Dunn’s work is equally sensitive to formal elements, placing itself firmly within figurative movement, dubbed “the new masters,” that seeks to reclaim classical academic methods and techniques. In his latest series of paintings, the “Sleep Series,” Dunn explores intimate spaces of real-life couples with empathy and polite appreciation for his models-become-friends, who have allowed him into those very few very vulnerable places that are offered to us to simply rest, breathe and take stock of ourselves. While he embraces tradition, Kerry is equally fond of abstraction, particularly of Jackson Pollock and abstract expressionism. He seeks to expand on and push the boundaries of his creativity by introducing abstract elements into his otherwise classically handled subjects. Dunn is experimenting with the application of color and paint, sometimes abandoning the brush altogether, other times dividing his pictorial space or partially flattening out perspective in unexpected and interesting ways.

When spoken to, we feel something and are stirred by it. Three Voices join together to provide us with a timely reminder of our fragile and shared humanity, prompting us to question any artificial boundaries we might set up in our minds or impose on our lives.

Exhibition continues through April 25, 2020.

Please note, Stanek Gallery remains open by appointment through the COVID-19 crisis, while observing all the necessary precautions. Please continue to check the website frequently for event schedule and updates, and don’t hesitate to contact the gallery directly with any questions or concerns.

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