Colorful Appeal at Visceral Gallery


The Visceral Gallery in Centerville is now well known for the manner in which it weaves together area artists in sensitively related joint exhibitions. In the gallery’s current exhibition entitled “Intertwined,” running through Thursday, May 20, the hierarchical birds and evocative miniature landscapes of Sharon Stolzenberger are paired with the quilt and fiber art pieces of Diane Dover creating Mandalas and iconic matrices of bird forms and their natural surroundings.

Stolzenberger, who lives and works in Kettering, is a graduate of the School of the Dayton Art Institute who worked in graphic art for Gibson Greetings for a while. She works mainly in water media with mixed media and collage to produce visions which center on nature and wildlife, reflected by her involvement with some environmental organizations and volunteering for the Cincinnati Zoo.

She creates pieces with water birds, as in the acrylic “Heron Landscape” with its minimalistic horizon and small elegantly soaring bird forms, and she particularly honors crows as regal birds that command attention in many of her works. For her, the crows are “intelligent, mischievous, and a little mysterious.” Her infusions of collages, image transfers, stencils and pencils introduce new depths to her watercolors and new acrylic pieces.

Her color palette is rich with earth colors, from burnt and raw sienna to deep blues like ultramarine and indigo, using layered textures in her paint surfaces. Her gradual shift from pure watercolor is glorified in this Visceral show which also includes many beautiful, possibly plein air, small elaborately framed exquisite acrylic paintings.

There are gold and pink grasses before levels of dark woods in “Touch of Sun,” a tributary between masses of gold and purple marshland in “Remnant Wetland,” several layers of marsh grasses in parallel in “Coastal Mashes,” and brilliant levels of pink, orange and violet in “Afterglow of Evening.” White herons cruise over golden marshes in “Huntington Marsh” and “Familiar Territory,” and the larger gestural strokes inscribed with palette knife scratchings animate the almost abstract textures of “Prairie Rhythms.”

The scroll-like “Free Spirited Passage” combines mixed media with ink script and partially over-painted hand-cut letter stencils with its wind-flapping crowning crow and a belt of bare textured trees. Crows, in various states of action, dominate the under-laid mesh patternings and sweeps of red/yellow energies in “Crow Energy” and “Spirit Chroma.” Most dramatic of all is the multi-layered composition of perching and landing crows combined with sketched cut-out crow collages in white in “Mystical Interventions.” Stolzenberger’s bird images are charged with magical avian energy.

Diane Dover is entranced by native Ohio flora and fauna, which she often sketches while observing nature in the field. “I use rich details of pattern, color, shapes, and traditional piecing and quilting,” she states, “like the Maple Lead, Log Cabin or Bear Paw block, with the quilting done by machine but the birds and flowers hand-embroidered and beaded, all done using a needle and thread and my own hand.”

Dover is showing some incredible quilts in addition to smaller stitched fiber pieces like the “Indigo Bunting” with two birds among blue leaves and surrounded by blooming flowers, and the Mandalic double faced birds in the diamond pattern of “Black and White Warblers.” The richly colored “Ohio Landscape” has golden squares full of flowers like fields of burgeoning grain and bugs and birds surrounded by a rich embroidered field of pink and purple threaded by fine green stems and leaves.

A delicate composition of blue-white blossoms circumscribes four quadrants of alternating dark and light patterns ruled over by “Brenda’s Bluebird” and a vertical daisy.

The very large “Nine Patch Woodpecker” quilt is rich like an oriental rug with diamond matrices, a golden inner border and a large pileated woodpecker sitting on the edge of an ornately leaved border.

A number of Dover’s quilts are also drawn from her love of Hawaiian Style Quilting and the American Crow. “Echo quilt making emanating out from the crow and repeated connected design are traditional,” she says. “The crow represents our need to care for our natural environment and appreciate nature’s beauty in all its complexities.”

Representative of Dover’s veneration of bird entities are the large Kachina-like dolls of three standing bird personages: the golden striped and black mantled “Meadowlark”; the red-capped and black winged presence of “Woodpecker”; and the flower embroidered chest and blue-silver wingspread of “Blue Jay.” A series of medium-sized fiber pieces use buttons as embellishment, either as flowers or stars, in “Rose-Breasted Grosbeak,” “Buttonbush Blossom,” or “Yellow Warbler with Buttonbush Blossoms.” The “Eight-Spotted Forested Moth” has white buttons as spots within a black border inhabited by red and white graphic flowers. In addition, Dover will give an artist talk and demonstration at Visceral on Saturday, May 15 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Visceral Gallery is located at 65 West Franklin Street in Centerville. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. For more information, call (937) 409-0069 or visit visceral.html.

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