Three years of preparation, Wendy and “Sandhill” Bill Bale, from Chautauqua County, presents a unique and inspiring exhibition at the Crary Art Gallery, not only for art lovers, but also for nature enthusiasts.
“Riparian zone: above and below the bank of the river” celebrates the waterfront habitat, brought to life through its detailed paper sculptures and charcoal works, coupled with its high level of artistry in furniture design.
The opening will take place on Saturday July 10 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. in open house format.
Artists will be available to visit visitors and answer questions about their work, their creative process and their close connection to nature. There is an accompanying publication “RiparianZine” which is full of beautiful images of the works and features statements from some of the most prominent local voices on the environment and the outdoors.
A member of the Guild of American Paper Cutters, Wendy Bale’s paper carving technique, as well as the attention and respect for every detail of every living thing she represents in her work, are flawless.
“In recent years, I have tried several different techniques for paper cutting. It is a very old practice, and I have found many traditional and modern ways of working in this fascinating environment. I discovered my own combinations by adding elements of charcoal and I developed my style through this exploration ”, she said. In addition to the paper sculpture, the exhibition also features several impressive large-format charcoal pieces. She adds, “I am a visual artist and an environmentalist. The biggest concern I deal with with this body of work is habitat conservation. I want to promote the appreciation of the unsung heroes of this ecosystem. I celebrate the plant and animal life in the riparian area, be it beautiful or bestial. “
“Sandhill” Bill Bale’s furniture design honors the waterfront area at the highest level, combining resin and stones and organic shapes to represent the feeling found in nature. This is the kind of furniture that you are tempted to touch and let your fingers follow the beauty of the grain it highlights.
This set of works represents the artist’s latest collection as he prepares for retirement.
“I have made over 1,100 pieces of Arts and Crafts living room and bedroom furniture. True to style, the lines were straight and parallel and rarely curved. This recent foray into the organic forms of live-edged slabs was a direct response to our experience along the riverbanks. Getting to know the flow of water and its impact on the landscape has inspired a whole new creative perspective.
From his hometown of Wisconsin, Bill Bale spent 20 years in the Midwestern art fair circuit taking orders for his award-winning furniture Sandhill Designs, before moving to the area after his wife, Wendy, accepted a corporate employment in Warren.
Living near the Allegheny inspired a new approach. His first “river table” won first place at Panama Rocks Wild America Festival 2017.
The Crary Art Gallery is a private, non-profit art museum, located on the corner of Sixth Avenue and Market Street in downtown Warren.
The exhibition hours, after the opening, are Fridays and Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission is always free and you can find more information about this and upcoming exhibitions at craryartgallery.com.