Hope and Determination, Paper and Stone: Joanne Schmaltz, Gar Waterman, Wendy Wischer

June 25 – July 30

Alva Gallery announces the summer exhibition Hope & Determination, Paper & Stone featuring the work of Joanne Schmaltz, Gar Waterman and Wendy Wischer.

It is the water lilies gracing a tiny lake next to her studio that inspire Joanne Schmaltz’s work. Through them the artist says she “gets lost in another world: a world of form, of space and light, of texture and composition, of curves and edges. For hours I arrange and rearrange each tendril of this amazing flower, looking to find the emotion that had first awakened me, trying not to make it beautiful, but to reveal the radiant beauty of the thing itself.” Schmaltz’s large, exquisite photographic images of water plants create a dreamy yet formal world of abstract, activated space. Printed on panels of paper, some spanning up to ten feet, her black-and-white close-ups of organic forms are indeed radiant. Their quiet intensity comes from the artist’s delicate sense of lighting and composition that exploit completely the surface and edges of her softly textured surfaces. Joanne Schmaltz studied at Paier College of Art and Middlesex Community College with additional training at the Maine Photographic Workshop and the studio of internationally recognized Connecticut photographer Sean Kernan. She has taught photography at the Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven and freelances for clients such as AT&T, MetLife and Family Fun Magazine. Schmaltz has exhibited her work in numerous juried, solo and group shows throughout New York and New England.

Gar Waterman’s sculptures in stone, bronze, steel and wood examine the intricate dynamic that exists between the curved forms of nature and the structured design of architecture. His sculptures combine his observation of natural phenomena and sensual devotion to the tactile possibilities of his materials, with a model maker’s tinkering sensibility of fabricating from bits. Waterman’s imagery is infused with marine forms: shells with their rough exteriors and sensual buttery interiors; skates contrasted by broad wings and taut egg cases; crabs, especially the atavistic fossil forms of horseshoe crabs; and squid. And yet his work does not describe any specific creature. Like the myriad forms of marine life that gradually cover and soften the geometric planes of a shipwreck, the lush organic sensuality of Waterman’s stone sculptures are juxtaposed by the architectural structure of a cut stone base, the hard line of welded steel, or the flat plane of a wall. The dialogue between architecture and nature remains the fundamental source of inspiration for his work. Gar Waterman grew up in New Jersey and Maine, with a formative year in Tahiti at the age of 9 to 10. After graduating from Dartmouth, he moved to Pietrasanta, Italy, where he spent seven years learning to carve marble at the master level. He has taught at the Creative Arts Workshop and the Foote School, as well as being selected as a Visiting Artist at Phillips Andover Academy, Dartmouth College and University of Pennsylvania. He is represented in important private collections, has received many commissions and awards, and has widely exhibited his work in museums and galleries throughout the U.S. The native New Englander lives and works in New Haven and Sargentville, Maine.

For Wendy Wischer, living in both rural and urban settings has brought two worlds together. Her photographs and site-specific installations manifest her desire to reflect on selected forms, objects and fragments, revealing how a single set of principles can be found throughout the universe. She is ultimately interested in the exploration of the nature of light. Wischer comments about her work, “Light as a medium has proven to be a strong voice as it is easily identifiable in both the real and the artificial, it is both tangible and intangible at the same time.” Wendy Wischer has exhibited in numerous solo and group shows, primarily in Florida but throughout the U.S. Her work has been on view during Art Basel at the Miami Art Museum, as well as the Miami Museum of Science and the Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale, among other respected venues. She has been the recipient of multiple fellowships, artistic awards and commissions.

VIEW ARTISTS:   Gar Waterman   |   Wendy Wischer   |   Joanne Schmaltz