GALERIES GALORE: Olszyk, Wedderspoon exhibits open at Johnson Center

first_img Published 2:00 am Saturday, May 30, 2015 Print Article By Secrets Revealed Messenger Photo/Jaine TreadwellKelly Olszyk’s paintings have their beginnings in the stories of life as told in black and white. Then layers are added and wiped away. Her method is to show the breakdown of the layers and how that transcends through to memories and experiences. And, that’s the way of life.The Troy Arts Council, Troy Fest and the Johnson Center for the Arts hosted a reception for exhibiting artists Kelly Nicole Olszyk and Craig Wedderspoon Thursday night at the Johnson Center.Olszyk is the 2014 TroyFest Best of Show winner and Wedderspoon is a highly acclaimed sculptor who welds aluminum strips and squares together to create works of art that encourage and invite the touch of hands.Olszyk, a Dothan native who makes her home in Eufaula, is an award winning, contemporary mixed media artist whose work represents the stories in life. Troy falls to No. 13 Clemson Pike County Sheriff’s Office offering community child ID kits By Jaine Treadwell She is the 2014 TroyFest Best of Show winner and her exhibit adds an exclamation point to the award.Olszyk’s painting are unique visually but especially unique in the process.Her method is to show the breakdown of layers and how that transcends through memories and experiences. Sponsored Content You Might Like HISTORY COMES ALIVE: The Pioneer Museum hosts ambush re-enactment The Pioneer Museum of Alabama was the site of the re-enactment of the “Ambush at Hobdy’s Bridge.” The re-enactment acknowledged… read more Email the authorcenter_img Plans underway for historic Pike County celebration Book Nook to reopen Olszyk looks at her work from the story it tells, the life that it has led.Her drawing starts as the birth of an idea.“Then, I start to sculpt newspaper around the drawing because it tells so much of everyday life that is here one moment and then gone the next.”The newspaper shows day-to-day life. There are tragedies and triumphs. Weddings and deaths.“Some in the newspaper are searching for their first apartment to begin life on their own,” Olszyk said. “Some are looking at their foreclosed home for sale. Jobs that finally make a difference. Food ads that help make it less expensive to feed a family and the knowledge that there are others that cannot afford food at all. Horrific front page stories and kittens waiting for someone who will love them unconditionally.”Olszyk said she molds the newspaper as if done by parents, by society or by one’s own unrealistic expectations.After the paper dries, the painting begins. Layer upon layer, covering up the past.“Sometimes the past stays hidden and sometimes it comes through as a constant reminder,” Olszyk said. “As in life, age and deterioration set in, so I sand away the paper. What comes off is sometimes on purpose and sometimes it is a consequence of the previous steps I have taken.”Olszyk said, as in life, there are mistakes. Those mistakes can be amended or they can be left as constant reminders that they happened.“When the painting is done, you see more than a painting. You see life,” she said. “You see all of its paths and decisions, in the start and at the end. Yet through the pain and hardship, you see beauty – a beauty that has only manifested because of destruction. The imperfection, perfection.”Olszyk’s artwork in the Johnson Center’s upper gallery is in contrast to the creations that Wedderspoon has installed in the lower gallery.Most art museums have a hands-off policy but when the Tuscaloosa-based sculptor created a body of work for the Birmingham Museum of Art’s outdoor Mezzanine Sculpture Gallery, museum patrons were, not only encouraged to touch and feel the hollow aluminum spheres, they were invited to crawl inside and look around.Messenger Photo/Jaine TreadwellCraig Wedderspoon, a highly acclaimed sculptor, stands with his walnut and ash wood sculpture that is part of his “Oval” exhibit at the Johnson Center for the Arts.Wedderspoon’s exhibit at the Johnson Center doesn’t include the large sculptures for the collection that resemble organic forms such as hives or barnacles but it does include the smaller forms which he calls “sprouts.”And, Wedderspoon invites visitors to the art center to touch and feel his work. After all, he has already manhandled the metal.Wedderspoon, who called Miami home, hasn’t always been a sculptor. In fact, his original life’s plan was to get a degree in physics. Then, he “delighted” his parents with a change of plans. He decided to go to music school and play classical and jazz guitar.But he couldn’t make ends meat on the musical scale, so he worked construction and did picture framing before landing a job with a glass-carving company.“I was blown away by the glass sculptures,” Wedderspoon said. He was soon the head glass carver and vice president of a glass company where he worked. In 1990, he started his own company and had just begun to turn a profit when he was blown away again. This time by Hurricane Andrew.“I lost everything in the hurricane,” he said. “My business, my home, almost everything I owned except my dog, cat and guitar.”Had it not been for Hurricane Andrew, Wedderspoon would probably be cutting glass in Miami today. But his insurance wasn’t enough for him to start over in the glass cutting business. His interest in sculpture was his motivation to get a degree in the fine arts. Advised that teaching would be a good way to support his habit of making art, Wedderspoon sought and landed a teaching position with the University of Alabama’s art department. As a teacher/sculptor, he is making his mark in the world.He works in metal and wood and uses fabrication and casting to create shapes mostly drawn from nature.“I take many, many parts and put them together,” he said.The most parts he made for a piece was 75,000 but 11,000 is a good average number.Imagine, sanding the edges of 11,000 pieces of metal.“The majority of my life is spent sanding edges,” Wedderspoon said, with a smile, adding that statement could be a metaphor for life. “A lot of life is spent sanding edges.”Wedderspoon’s mother is a master quilter and her influence can be seen in much of his artwork, which has a quilt-like quality.“I’m interested in and fascinated by texture,” he said. “My work reflects that.”The basket weave design that he sometimes uses in his sculptures was inspired by hand woven baskets made in Columbia.His exhibit at the Johnson Center is titled, “Oval” and includes a walnut and ash wood sculpture that moves through space as if it were dancing or flopping, depending on the perspective of the viewer. A focal point on the exhibit is a series of aluminum cylinders that catch the light from above and cast shadows that bring life to the gallery. Latest Stories Remember America’s heroes on Memorial Day GALERIES GALORE: Olszyk, Wedderspoon exhibits open at Johnson Center This Video Will Soon Be Banned. Watch Before It’s… She explained simply that she paints on newspaper and then wipes much of the paint away to expose the content of the newspaper in the image she has created.“The deterioration process is something that some people may look at and ask why an artist would partially destroy their work,” Olszyk said.However, the “destruction” reveals the beauty that exists in its wake.“When I think of the layers of the painting, I think of how that represents the layers of someone’s life,” Olszyk said. “There is good and bad, important and trivial. 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