Openings + Shows: More First Fridays in August

Eric Hopkins Cuts Loose, New Work at Isalos Fine Art

On August 2 Eric Hopkins: Cutting Loose will open at Isalos Fine Art in Stonington, Maine. The exhibition will be the first to feature the artist’s latest work in painted wood relief. Recently, Hopkins wrote about his new art form, which he calls cutouts.

“I’ve always liked working with wood—building things or cutting and splitting wood to keep me warm. Bucky Fuller said something about how burning wood released the sun’s energy. My grandfather had a sawmill when I was young. As kids we liked to go play in the sawdust mountains and later pick raspberries that grew up around the sawdust and slab piles.

“These recent wood cutouts evolved from cutting pieces of glass to incorporate in blown-glass globe forms. One thing led to another, and I found it easier and more hands-on to work with wood than to deal with all the technology of molten glass.

“After so many years of painting illusions of land, water, and sky I started getting antsy to make things. I like the physicality of working with wood. At first I would draw then cut out simplified abstracted shapes of land and clouds. More recently I’ve taken cues from the grain of the wood to make the shapes—like drawing with wood. There’s something very direct about cutting wood on the band saw, refining the shapes with a coarse grinder, gluing them up and painting the images—all very direct.

“I’m influenced by a great many artists who have cut out and found shapes: Louise Nevelson, Blackie Langlais, Robert Indiana, Red Grooms, Alex Katz, Frank Stella, Sam Cady, and Henri Matisse. Of course growing up around boat yards and boat builders, I was very aware of many great leftover shapes. I had a portable band saw mill when I built my house and saw many incredible shapes and patterns in the leftover scraps. When I was cutting a road to my new property on North Haven I had no studio. I found organic and cubist inspiration in the stumps, roots, and branches that evolved into sculptures based on fish forms—à la Brancusi.

Now, with this new work, I’m acknowledging all this background of wood in my life.”

Eric Hopkins: Cutting Loose will be on view at Isalos Fine Art from August 2 through 14. A reception with the artist is scheduled for Friday, August 5, from 4 to 7 p.m. For more information, contact Isalos Fine Art at 207-367-2700 or isalosfineart@yahoo.com, or visit www.isalosfineart.com.

Listen to the 7/30 Café radio show and Anthony’s interview with Eric Hopkins