Highlights Shadows Highlights Shadows
Highlights & Shadows
Society of Minnesota Sculptors
A Fabulous Opening ... A Fabulous Show
The Society’s 2010 exhibition opened to a large and enthusiastic crowd at the Minnetonka Center for the Arts
on Thursday evening, February 25th. From the one hundred entries received, fifty-nine works were selected for
display by our jurors from Art Resources Gallery and The Minneapolis Institute of Art. (See biographies on next
page.) Commented our president, Tom Zahn, “Once again we have a wonderful show and strong presence in the
regional arts community. The physical layout and appearance of the exhibition is as good as it gets, and the food
and presentation were the best we have ever had.” Here’s what the jurors had to say...
3rd Place: Dynamic Duo and
Shoo Fly by Mary Belford
1st Place: Dove’s Eye
by Arlene Zimmerman
“This is a beautiful marble sculpture which shows a real craftsman’s work and the ability to relay
a great emotion and skill. The composition, the posture, the choice of
material and the technique make
of this piece a very intriguing and,
yet, very touching work of art.”
2nd Place: Waiting for the Tide to
Come In by Duane Mickelson
“This is a very creative and original use of materials. The scale and the different proportions
of this piece make a statement. Its subject is
interesting and poetic and the overall look has
by Heidi Hoy
“Dynamic Duo is very sweet pair of sculptures with a nice patina, reminiscent of
Barye’s (French 1795-1875) studies of
animals, which were so popular during the
Romantic Period. She has captured well
the little bunnies’ expression. It’s a timeless work, decorative and fits well in many
settings. Her other work, Shoo Fly (inset),
is equally beautiful, and very well done
with similar technique and appeal. This
representation shows well the strength and
the elegance of horses, the roughness of the
bronze surface is very appropriate for the
The Giving Moon
and Traveler Stealing
the Moon by Dean
An Exhibition Sampler
See the entire exhibition at the Minnetonka Center for the
Arts. The show runs through March 24th.
This page, clockwise from the top...
Michael Bigger, Wave Tower #2; JeffreyBirch, Zach; Jim Boles,
Targe II; Cathy Bush, Vintage Reflection; Greg Conboy, The Doll
Maker; John Currie, Steadfast; Barb Daveloose, Passion; Laura
Drabant, The Big One Rolls Over; Caprice Glaser, Pour; Nancy
Goughnour, Adam & Eve; Branco Gulin, Venus; Norman Holen,
Woman with Bathing Suit; Helen Jones, Katie’s Horse; Nick
Legeros, Reflecting on Friendship; Peter Lupori, Madonna;
Cynthia Markle, As We Remember.
Opposite page, clockwise from the top..
Glen McKillips, Morpheus; Dwight Mickelson, My Eye; Judd
Nelson, Redtail Hawk; Jim Nielsen, Escape; Alis Olsen, Thoreau’s
Log II; Mary Pagnucco, Flying Fish; James Paulsen, The Italian
Job; Jim & Ryan Pedersen, Separation; Frank Picos, Basic Black
2; Dick Poey, The Conversation; Michelle Recke, Black Lotus;
Dan&Lee Ross, Piano Lesson; Barbara Ryan, Black Bird Pie
Mask; Miriam Seim, Girl with Rabbit; Alan Slacter, They Arrived
On the Steamship Armenia; Pam Smith, Dragon; Frank Stone,
Windhook; Linda Taylor, Bolt Hole; Foster Willey, Untitled; Tom
Zahn, Mars; Deb Zeller, The Man and the Muse. About our jurors…
French-born Véronique Wantz Barrett is
the Senior Art Consultant and Gallery Curator for Art Resources Gallery in International Market Square. She has a Masters
in Art History from the Ecole du Louvre in
Paris and also a degree in Interior Design.
Before coming to the United States, she
was the director and curator of French art
galleries, serving museums, private and
public clients worldwide.
Tamatha Sopinsky Perlman is an Associate with the Minnesota Artists Exhibition
Program at the Minneapolis Institute of
Art and has worked as a digital media
consultant for the museum and other
organizations since the mid 1990s. She
holds a Masters in Art History from the
University of Minnesota.
DAN and LEE ROSS
Side by Side...
Back to Back
Their paths crossed at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in
1972. Lee, an art student, was struggling to carry a large block of
wood to one of her classes. Dan, a student in the agricultural school,
happened to be going the same way and “did she need help?” The
item turned out to be a woodcut, a life sized nude self portrait. This
was Dan’s first real exposure to the UW-RF art scene and he was
impressed. Anytime she needed help lugging the woodcut around, he
was more than happy to help. So began a working relationship that
continues to this day.
Thirty-eight years later the couple are still working side by side from
initial designs to the finished sculptures. For thirty-five of those
years they have been making a living with their work selling at art
fairs, a few galleries and commissions. Their work ranges from
small hand-held clay pieces to large scale commissions carved out
of granite. They enjoy both. The small pieces can be done quickly
allowing them to realize more ideas, and sometimes they serve as
maquettes for their larger sculptures.
People often ask, “Where do you get your ideas? What influences
you?” Their travels to Japan, Africa, South America, Europe and
many trips to Canada have had an impact, but many times it is just
going for a walk—seeing something that excites their curiosity. Said
Lee, “It can be as simple as turning over a small stone on the beach
or launching our canoe on Lake Superior where we live and peering
through the surface watching giant boulders appear and disappear. As
we paddle along excitedly discussing the shapes of the boulders, questions arise: Are they birds? Animals? Musical instruments? Or people
dancing along? When the waves begin to pick up, we know it’s time
to get back to the studio and play with our new ideas.”
For many years they worked exclusively with clay, but it had the look
and feel of stone. Dan recalled. “In 1999 at the Cherry Creek Arts
Festival in Denver stonecarvers who stepped into our booth suggested
our ceramic designs would work well in stone and that we should try
it—and ‘you don’t have to fire them.’ Before, we had been limited by
the size of our kiln. With stone the sky was the limit ...but the weight.
How do we lift it? New tools and a new language had to be learned.
Later that summer we won Best of Show at the Uptown Art Fair in
Minneapolis. Taking the $1,000 prize, we signed up for a stonecarving workshop in Pietrasanta, Italy. From there we would go on to
attend stonecarving symposiums in Oregon. We soon learned that
stone sculpture is a different animal than clay sculpture. When a
clay sculpture is unloaded from the kiln, it is done— but stone can be
worked and reworked. Designs that work in clay do not always work
in stone and vice versa. It’s hard to put a finger on why that is. They
each have their own strengths and individual voices.”
Lee and Dan continue to use stoneware clay, granite, basalt, Minnesota limestone and glacial erratics, sometimes combining them. Their
stoneware clay sculptures are slab-constructed and fired in a gas kiln
to 2300 degrees F, making them suitable for outdoor installations. For
stone sculptures their suppliers are Rex Granite, Cold Spring Granite
and Vetter Stone.
Clockwise from above...
Reverberations; Frozen Combustions; Basalt
Figures and Snowy Owl.
Opposite page from the left...
Bird; Somersault and Carapace
Over the years their style has evolved one sculpture at a time. Each
is tied both to the previous and to the following one, even if this does
not always happen in a linear route.
Dan and Lee Ross
Lee and Dan Ross
PO Box 131
Hovland, MN 55606
Shopping Mall Israeli Style
Sculpture is everywhere! These photos were taken during a visit to
Mamilla Mall in October, 2009. This is an old and famous region
outside of the Ancient City of Jerusalem. Now it is perhaps the most
beautiful mall I’ve ever seen, and the streets are filled with bronze and
stone sculptures by present-day artists. The nearby Jerusalem Hilton
also has an extensive art collection. And I would encourage everyone
to visit the Brigham Young Center for Eastern Studies. The building
and grounds are stunning and showcase the oldest olive trees. Their
gallery has changing exhibits of the highest quality.
I’ve selected a few photos from our trip to share with our Society
members. It might be worth a trip to Israel to see the art work and the
architecture in person.
In 1970 Vandals Attacked
at the Cleveland Art Museum
There are twenty-five enlarged versions of Rodin’s The Thinker. Of
these, less than five were cast and patinated during his lifetime. One
of the last Rodin-supervised casts can be found in Cleveland, Ohio,
where it sits directly in front of the Cleveland Museum of Art. This
cast was donated in 1916, the same year that the Museum opened.
In the middle of the night on March 24, 1970, the Cleveland Museum’s Thinker was irreparably damaged by a pipe bomb. The bomb
itself had been placed on the pedestal that supported the enlargement
and had the power of about three sticks of dynamite.
No one was injured in the subsequent blast, but the statue’s base and
lower legs were destroyed. The remaining sections of the work were
blown backward to form a “plume” at the base, and the entire work
was knocked to the ground. It was reported that this attack was undertaken by a radical political group—perhaps as a commentary on the
military action in Vietnam or the elitism of the U.S. government.
Regardless, no one was ever arrested or charged with the destruction.
It did bring up several conservation issues related directly to artistic
intent, however. As the piece was so dramatically damaged, the Museum was unsure as how to proceed. There was a movement started to
completely recast the original sculpture and replace the damaged work
with the new piece. There were also several people who believed that
the original piece itself should be restored using recast elements of
Rodin’s original. Finally there were a number of people who believed
that the statue should not be repaired, but placed outside in its current
condition as a statement of the importance of public art and its vulnerability. Eventually, it was the later position that was endorsed, and the
damaged piece currently sits outside of the original 1916 facade.
From the Museum’s website
Is Coming Soon
May 14, 15 and 16
Watch for the
Call for Artists
President and Membership Chair
Society of Minnesota Sculptors
807 Holly Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55104