September 26 is the opening night for an important contemporary art exhibit featuring industrial painter Steve Ward, nationally celebrated sculptor Jason Briggs and, Washington State installation artist Squeak Meisel. The reception, at D*SIGNS Gallery in Twisp, will feature Meisel’s installation in the Spartan Art Project which will be parked in front of the gallery on Glover Street. The exhibit reception is from 6-8pm and continues through Oct 31.
Washington State University sculpture professor and installation artist Squeak Meisel has created a special painted element to fill Spartan Art Project as part of his installation. After the opening festivities the Spartan with Meisel’s installation returns to its home base at Twispworks while Briggs and Wards work will continue to grace the beautifully refurbished airily industrial space at D*SIGNS Gallery. Glover Street Markets is bringing their weekly Saturday wine tasting event to D*SIGNS for the exhibition opening and features “Washington’s Best” select wines.
Artist Steve Ward, a local art icon and firefighter, has been fighting fires all over the state since they started in August. He and fellow artists and Spartan Art partners, Matt Armbrust and Jeff Winslow, created the Spartan Art Project, housed in a 1951 Spartan Imperial Mansion travel trailer, to provide an unencumbered exhibit and performance space for artists. The Spartan has hosted art exhibits, top name classical, bluegrass and folk concerts, as well as poetry and films. It parks at TwispWorks a center for creative enterprise, located on the site of the historic Twisp Ranger Station. Donna Keyser is the owner of D*SIGNS where she exhibits art, unique home furnishings and also provides graphic design services.
Ward’s material of choice is carbon steel, which he coaxes into art by cutting, welding, and bending. Ward’s style relies on nontraditional techniques. He is self-taught and quite masterful. He states, “With every piece I start, I’m taking a chance. I’m not comfortable going back to the well for the same piece of art.” Accustomed to figuring things out for himself, Ward is most comfortable constantly trying new things. “If I had some formal training, I’d be horrified with what I do and not do, I would feel my work is wrong.”
Jason Biggs’ ceramic sculpture is evocative and exquisitely crafted. He creates objects that have nothing to do with this everyday life. You can’t pour tea from it, or find where the eyes and tail should be, yet his objects feel familiar and intimately obsessive. He has a brilliant sense of humor (read his website and be sure to push all the buttons) and fearless commitment to his vision. He builds work you may not be able to wrap your head around but will find irresistible. Briggs says of his process, “I am searching for a fresh perspective. I strive to create an object I’ve never quite seen before – one whose inherent mystery and intrigue quietly insists upon viewer interaction. An object begging to be explored and examined in much the same way a child investigates the world: with wonder, curiosity, and also trepidation”.
Meisel’s work includes permanent public art installations across the northwest, as well as a long history of temporary installations and performance art. He states, “The artworks I make grow out of an improvisational dialogue between materials and space. The work represented in my portfolio frames a dialogue on time and space”.
Curator Matt Armbrust says that this exhibit provides an intense look into what it means to be human. The three artists display exquisite attention to detail and an acute awareness of all the elements in their art. The work is contemporary and the artists have emerged unscathed from the pitfalls of archaism and futurism and have given us something much more profound, that is: something new. You will be affected.
DATES: Sept 26–Oct 31; Artist Reception, Sat, Sept 26, 6-8pm. CONTACT/LOCATION: D*signs Gallery, 109B Glover St, Twisp, WA, 509.997.0255