Sunday, June 15, 2014

Local Art Seen: Carla Hamilton and Durch Wasser rennen

Ghost Fathers
This month's show at the Washington Gallery is Carla Hamilton's Durch Wasser rennen. Hamilton, who grew up in Wrenshall, left home at eighteen and went to Europe, ultimately living in Stuttgart for near eighteen years. She has been back Stateside since 2012 and currently resides in the Washington Studios downtown.

I'm impressed by the caliber of work being produced by several recent additions to our local arts community including Rodrigo Bello, Karen Nease and Esther Piszczek to name a few. Carla Hamilton, who studied classical art techniques at the Freie Kunstschule,  is a welcome addition.

Durch Wasser rennen means "running through water", which she says is a metaphor for how she feels about current events in her personal life and in the world at large, specifically in the environmental sense.

Ghost Fathers, detail (click to enlarge)
The pre-show announcement spoke of her use of re-purposed materials, and would have a lot of focus on women. It turns out the variety of re-purposed materials was especially interesting, including shredded money. She did not shred her own cash, but rather used her own cash to purchase a bag of shredded bills which she put to to good use in some most interesting ways.

Much of her work clearly gives the impression that there is more going on than initially meets the eye, and she said, "There's a backstory."

Her life abroad included time spent in Amsterdam and Italy among other places. Her home in Germany was in a suburban part of Stuttgart, almost village like, she said. In August she will be returning briefly to take care of some business there.

The show deserved a larger crowd and I am looking forward to the return of Second Friday art crawls. The PROVE did not have an opening this past Friday, perhaps in part due to the Northern Spark city-wide art happening in Minneapolis this weekend.

Many of Hamilton's pieces show a compelling complexity. What I liked about many of the pieced was the manner in which images were formed that you could engage from a distance and then explore more richly up close. I mentioned the shredded bills, for example, but there's threading and other kinds of design elements woven into some of the pieces with great attention to detail. I especially like the manner in which colors were used to bleed into the loose designs that formed background on some piece.

Some of the pieces show a great delicacy in their intricate lacing of materials. I also liked the way in which blocks of color create the forms which produce the ultimate story. With props, gestures, lace and lively use of color in some, muted color in others, Hamilton tells stories that can engage the eye and entertain the mind. Media include watercolor, acrylics, wax, thread, copper and sometimes spray paint.

There's something serious about the work that makes one look forward to seeing more. The gallery will be open from 1-5 pm the next two weekend afternoons.

Sock Center. The reflection of windows makes me think of a tray with vases.

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