Collaborative exhibit opened at River’s Edge Gallery in Wyandotte March 20, 2015. It will remain on view until April 17, 2015. Gallery hours are Monday to Thursday 11:00 am to 7:00 pm, Friday 11:00 to 8:00 pm and Saturday 11:00 to 5:00 pm.
Gallery Director Jeremy Hansen was inspired after his experience collaborating with artists in Berlin, Andreas and Ralf Hilbert aka “ANRA”, last year. Zusammenarbeit is the German word for collaboration.
Historically many well known artists have had collaborators. Judy Chicago’s “Dinner Party” was created with hundreds of collaborators. Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock, Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz all collaborated.
My collaborator was Susan Robinson-Heaslip one of my studio mates and member of West Huron Sculptors. It was an exciting fluid process, with a great exchange of ideas and expertise. It was also an exercise in trust and a journey of respect.
We began with two sculptures I had created, but never finished. Susan and I talked and ideas began to flow. Her thought was to build context for them by framing separately with pieces of mitered wood.Somehow in the process, a triangle appeared. As a Catholic I immediately began thinking of symbolism. Then I turned to Susan and asked about Jewish symbolism. It just happened that it was March 4th the beginning of the holiday Purim. We began talking about Hamantaschen or Haman’s pockets a popular treat for this holiday. One interpretation is that the triangular shaped cookies represent Haman’s three cornered hat. Another thought is that the pastry’s shape comes from the Esther’s strength and the trilogy founders of Judiasm: “Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This explains the title “It started with hamantaschen or Trapping Haman.”
Susan suggested I add muscular arms to the second figure. Her title is “Stronger than she looks” and she began to resemble a “Rosie the Riveter.” Robinson-Heaslip is skilled at composition, patinas and a variety of art materials as well as a sculptor herself. She created a box complete with over two hundred “rivets” actually screws, then was able to create a faux metal surface.
Below are photos documenting some of the process. I’m open to future collaborations, since there is always something new to learn.