From October 2 through November 7, the Caldbeck Gallery, 12 Elm Street in Rockland, will exhibit the woven tapestries of Morris David Dorenfeld of Spruce Head, and recent works in mixed medium on paper by Kathleen Florance of South Thomaston. A reception for the artists will take place on First Friday, October 2, from 5 to 7 p.m.
Born and raised in Chicago, Dorenfeld spent his formative years studying painting at the Chicago Art Institute. He designed fabrics for a living, all the while pursuing his own aesthetic investigations into the arts. The artist moved to Maine in 1978, bringing with him an old weaving loom he had rescued from a barn in New Hampshire. He wanted to live in balance with nature, to be renewed through his art.
“With hands, heart, and head, the designing and weaving of tapestries became a natural means of personal expression”, the artist explains. “The weavings are done on a vertical tapestry loom. The weft is beaten down by hand with a hardwood fork and with fingers, especially when using small butterfly hanks of yarn. This procedure is time consuming, requiring concentration and patience, but when the finished piece is taken from the loom, it is as tight as a drum and within the total, each single “pick”, is fully known. My tapestries rely on design, composition, proportion, and color. They are to be experienced, like a painting or any work of art, for its own visual power and force of statement.”
The tapestries in “Hunter Variations” were made over the past 2 years. Each measures in the 70 x 46 inch range, and is built on stripes and blocks of brilliant and audacious color, including Hunter Orange. Each finished design and weaving sets the stage for the next piece. The series is still in progress. This is the artist’s third solo show with the Caldbeck.
In “Tango”, Florance combines her love of drawing, printmaking, and painting in these works on paper, ranging in size from 26 x 20 inches to 35 x 26 inches. Some pieces are on a synthetic paper called “Yupo”, while a number of pieces are on Rives BFK cotton rag printmaking paper. The Yupo’s hard, impenetrable surface supports the litho crayon and acrylic relief ink on the surface of the paper only, such that the colors seem to be lit from behind. The Rives BFK lends itself to softer tones, as it is more absorbent. Using masking tape and/or stencils, the artist rolls the brightly colored relief inks onto the paper, making large geometric shapes as well as the finest of lines. These work with the black lines and washes of the litho crayon.
Florance explains the show’s title, “Tango”: “as a less than graceful, diehard tomboy little girl, I had wonderful dreams of dancing…stepping, swirling, bending, twirling… my art is now that dance. This series, as with all my work, is based on the forms and study of nature. In this case, I found great inspiration in the lines and spaces in the architecture of spider webs. Informed and intrigued by concept and structure, I began my dance – step in, step out, swoop and bend. each piece is a new dance – moving and turning, bending and stepping – guided by line, charmed by color. Dancing to the last mark”. Florance has shown widely in Maine and has created a number of environmental installations. She has shown with the Caldbeck since 1988.
Fall gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. For more information, please call (207) 594 5935.