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About Off the Wall
A contemporary mixed media exhibition using materials to create form and textures beyond the traditional stereotypes of fiber. Breaking the confinement of two-dimensional, wall-based work, each artist’s interpretation expands the conversation surrounding fibrous sculpture and the line between crafting and contemporary art. Using various processes, Off the Wall challenges the practicality of material to create new forms and ideas.
Featuring works by Linda Gelfman, Faye Schoolcraft, Beth Leydon, Jennifer Landau, Susan Else, Sandra Poteet, Peggy Wright, and Valerie Messervy Birkhoff with curators Lin Schiffner and Brynn Farwell
#Topple the Patriarchy-the Reemergence of the Great Cosmic Mother”
The state of the world is bad and getting worse. Something, continually, is not working. Humankind keeps making the same mistakes over and over and over. Fed by greed, power, capitalism, sexism, racism, a sense of entitlement, this one is better than the other. “This Land is Mine God Gave This Land to Me*”…Bullshit!!
It is time for a change.
#TopplethePatriarchy (or #smashthepatriarchy). The patriarchy is broke and we need to embrace a new way of living or face extinction.
“The opposite of patriarchy is not matriarchy, but fraternity. And I think it’s women who are going to have to break the spiral of power and find the trick of cooperation.”-Germaine Greer
The reemergence of the Great Cosmic Mother is needed to help us find a balance. This installation is part of the change.
*check out Nina Paley’s version of this on YouTube
Linda Gelfman was born in Chicago, she received her BFA from University of Illinois and moved to Sacramento in 1989 to get her MFA from California State University, Sacramento. She has been head of the Ceramic Department at American River College since 2003. Linda has had a love affair with clay for over 45 years and about 15 years ago she started cheating on clay to experiment in fiber art. She uses up-cycled clothes from the thrift store and her closet to create her whimsical but socially relevant sculptures/installations. Her most favorite place to be in the world is her studio. The fiber and clay have come to an understanding finally and comfortably share her attentions.
Since childhood, Beth has been a maker and creator. In 2011 she was exposed to a simple felting technique and dove headlong into this ancient and ever evolving textile art form. She crafts one-of-a-kind pieces utilizing wet and “nuno” felting processes. Wool, yarn, silk and other fibers are transformed into functional and wearable art. Scarves, hats, slippers, vests, purses and decorative vessels are just a handful of items that she produces. She enjoys experimenting with hand dyeing and hunting thrift stores for garments to be repurposed. Locally sourced materials are utilized whenever possible. She offers classes and workshops at her home studio as well as community maker spaces.
Jennifer Landau’s passion for art, fiber and the mountains has been with her since childhood. Jen is a lifelong resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, with the Sierra Nevada and France as places of family, exploration, retreat, and inspiration. With an academic background in organizational development, Jennifer is a pioneer of the profession, graphic facilitation, where visual thinking is used with teams and organizations. In Jen’s fiber art, handspun wool, “knit felt” and machine felting are signature materials. Increasingly Jennifer is becoming known for her 3D and freestanding art quilt work. Abstract themes draw on her background in graphic design, while landscapes reflect her love of both outdoor and urban life. Her art quilts have been
shown in local art events as well as regional and global SAQA exhibitions. Art Quilting Studio magazine has featured her work since 2013, and she enjoys speaking about the use of wool in her artwork. She sells her fiber work and demonstrates spinning at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair in the San Francisco area. Her work can be seen online at ruedoak.com and hammondhandspun.com
Transitioning between the painted fabric work and other fiber manipulations renews my energy. My art continues to evolve, there are no rules and I exercise the right to try anything new. All doors are open, I can go through.
The choice of cloth as medium sometimes sets me in the midst of the never ending argument about what is art, and what is craft. So many opinions. I am clear that my work is art, but I can resolve to say that if the viewer also decides my work is “Art”, it is well-crafted. If chosen to be seen as “Craft” pieces, they are artful, designed and executed by me to provoke an aesthetic or emotional response. If an original work has integrity and can touch someone’s sensibilities – is the distinction critical?
I describe my work as “stealth art” the comfortable ambiance of sewn cloth draws viewers in, where they are confronted with the often-uncomfortable paradoxes of contemporary life. My work has developed in tandem with the art quilt movement, but I am one of the few artists making figurative sculpture—often incorporating sound, light, and movement—from this medium. I use cloth to create an alternate universe, and the resulting work is full of contradictions: it is whimsical, edgy, mundane, surreal, and engaging, all at once. Each piece tells a story, but the narrative is always open to interpretation. The power and beauty of the collaged and quilted cloth surface play off the form and content of the work, and the result is a dynamic seesaw of meanings and possibilities.
Valerie Messervy Birkhoff
Valerie Messervy Birkhoff graduated from Portland State University with a B.S. in Arts and Letters. Her work includes clay sculpture, hand-sewn-beaded-wire sculptures, oil/acrylic painting, and mixed media. Her work has been shown from Marin to Joshua Tree and several places in-between. Her awards include the following: Best of Show, for her beaded sculpture, “In Her Hands” at Sacramento Fine Arts Center, and her clay pieces “Sweating Dirt” and “Human Interaction” have also received a Best of Show there as well; First place award for 3D for her clay sculpture “Preasevare” with the Joshua Tree National Park Art Council Show, where she has participated since 2014 and received a Second Place Award in 2015 for her beaded sculpture “Ouch!.” Her clay sculpture “Unveiled Hero” received 3rd Place, a Bold Award for her clay sculpture “Words Hurt,” and her oil painting “Humour” was given an Award of Excellence, in Sacramento. She was included in the 30th Annual Clay Competition in Davis in 2019. She is an instructor of expressive clay sculpture in Auburn at JCLee Studios.
Faye Schoolcraft was born in Chicago, Illinois, to artist parents, Freeman and Cora Schoolcraft . The family moved to Georgia in 1965. While in the South, she worked for the South Carolina Arts Commission Mobile Arts Program, teaching workshops in rural communities. She migrated to San Francisco, California in 1981 and did post-graduate work at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, and earned a Masters Degree in Fine Arts from Fiberworks of Berkeley, a branch of John F. Kennedy University. She currently resides in Nevada City, California and teaches ceramics and fiber arts at Sierra College. She has exhibited nationally, most notably: Crocker Museum Art Auction, Sacramento, B.N.S.A . Crocker Museum, Sacramento, J.Paul Getty Villa Museum Store, Sculptural Object Fine Art ( S.O.F.A) Chicago, National Fiber Directions in Wichita, Kansas, Small Wonders in New York, New York, Art Santa Fe, Burning Man , Black Rock Desert, Nevada, Feats of Clay in Lincoln, California, The Los Angeles Art Show.
My work integrates my life long interests in dance and the natural environment.
I try to capture the grace of bodies moving in space, the play of light on the forest floors, the reflection of the landscape on water, or trees and mountains silhouetted against the sky.
I find inspiration in the textures, patterns, and shapes of the surfaces of the earth and use these metaphorically to create organic structures that will relay an experience or articulate a concept.
My focus on fiber art began 20 years ago after decades of more traditional quilting and exploration of many art forms – graphic arts and design; painting; and printmaking. Contemporary fabric, fiber and mixed media art provide avenues for the artistic expression of my life experience and centers on inspirational themes such as hope, compassion, peace, and the environment.
I enjoy combining personal and heartfelt subject matter with a passion for color and a compulsion for finely detailed craft. Creating in my home studio in Nevada City is a daily practice which brings joy, solace, and purpose to my life.
Since becoming a full-time fiber artist, I have garnered recognition in a variety of art arenas, nationally and internationally. I also maintain an ongoing display at the Art Works Gallery in Grass Valley, CA.
Brynn Farwell was born in Penn Valley, California. In 2013, she moved to Seattle, Washington to attend Cornish College of the Arts where she received her Bachelor’s in Fine Arts in 2017. She has exhibited in several solo and group exhibitions in Seattle, New York, and Nevada County. During her time in school, she studied abroad in Rome, Italy, in the Rome Studio Art Program through the University of Washington, Bothell. She was selected as one in fourteen students across the continent to participate in the New York Studio Residency Program in Brooklyn, NY, in 2016. Brynn has worked for several non-profits including the Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle, as a youth sailing instructor and A.I.R. (Artist in Residence) Gallery in Brooklyn, as a Benefit Coordinator. Since moving back to Nevada County, Brynn sings in a local funk band, Elevation, creates visual art in her studio, and works at The Center for the Arts in order to participate in and give back to the artistic community she has always loved.
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