Gallery MAR’s ‘Bountiful World’ utilizes sculptures and paintings
November 25, 2014
With Thanksgiving coming up this week, Gallery MAR owner Maren Mullin thought about various themes that are connected to the holiday and decided to put together an exhibit called "Bountiful World."
In doing so, she recruited two of her artists — sculptor Joe Norman and encaustic painter Bridgette Meinhold — who both share a love for the outdoors and work with subtle color palettes.
Norman is a former Utahn who now lives in Loveland, Colorado, and Meinhold lives in Park City.
Both spoke with The Park Record in separate interviews last week and talked about their thoughts on the exhibit, their works and art in general.
"I’ve known Bridgette for several years and it was a no-brainer when Maren asked us to do a show together," Norman said. "The works we did came from such an organic process."
Norman had talked with Meinhold a bit, but in the end they both began creating works individually that they thought would fit the theme.
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"We decided since the show was going to open around Thanksgiving, we thought of the themes that surrounded thankfulness and bounty," Norman said.
Meinhold is thankful for the outdoors.
"I know some of my work was made as an excuse for me to spend more time outside," Meinhold said with a laugh. "I already do a lot of that, but I just love being outside. So for me to be able to translate my experiences through artwork was my goal."
The painter worked with the melted-wax encaustic medium, but also added touches of milk paint to capture the fine detail of trees and mountains.
"Not everyone can live in the mountains or in the woods and I know there are many people who may not want to," Meinhold said. "But if I can share a brief window to help them understand my appreciation of nature, it may help them grow their appreciation for nature."
Norman, who is known for his finely detailed metal sculptures, took a more abstract path for his works.
"There were a lot of ideas I had cooking in my head that needed a little kick in the [butt] to start doing," Norman said, laughing. "I was going to do something anyway, so it felt really natural."
For a few months, Norman had been working on pieces that had a social-justice component to them.
"That was taking a little bit of a toll on me, so I stepped back to look at the technical side of making sculptures, specifically the surfaces of a piece," he explained. "I thought I should dive down and try to understand what a surface really is."
In its simplest form, a surface could be represented by a piece of sheet metal, according to Norman.
"But what if I put a bunch of holes in it?" he asked. "Would it still be considered a surface? If so, how many holes can I put in it?"
Norman also experimented with the concept of negative surface.
"One of the pieces I’m excited about is an enlarged metal hipbone that is eight-feet tall," he said. "The thing with this is that there are places where a surface is implied, but not really there. Hopefully it works for people."
Both Meinhold’s works and Norman’s pieces take a lot of time and concentration to finish.
"I paint on hot wax with big brushes and use a torch to fuse it to make it smooth," Meinhold said. "Then I take a scraping tool to scrape it flat and fuse it again. So there is a multi-step process for each layer, and that can take up to six hours or more per layer."
While Meinhold’s works represented her love of the outdoors, Norman’s works were inspired by his family.
"I also have a series of sculptures of hands that I made out of bike chains, bolts and washers," he said. "The sculptures have a thread that represents the male lineage in my family. One is called ‘The Architect,’ and my dad was an architect. One of my grandfathers was a rancher, so one of the hands is holding a branding iron. One of my other grandfathers was an engineer and the hands are holding a wrench."
Both artists created works of various sizes.
"My works that depict hands start at being two-feet high by three-feet wide, and the surface works range from human body-sized or bigger," Norman said.
Meinhold’s works start as small as 18-inches square.
"The largest work is a diptych, which is two panels put together, that measures a total of 36-inches by 80-inches," she said.
Gallery MAR, 436 Main St., will host an opening reception for "Beautiful World," an exhibit featuring sculptures by Joe Norman and encaustic paintings by Bridgette Meinhold, on Friday, Nov. 28, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://www.gallerymar.com .