May 7 – June 18
Many artists go out into nature to find inspiration for their work, but few artists bring our focus in as close as Bryan Nash Gill and Dina Varano. In a new exhibition at Alva Gallery, The Nature of Art examines how print maker and sculptor Nash Gill and fine jeweler Varano respond to the woods in which they live.
Bryan Nash Gill doesn’t just observe nature, he captures it and brings it into his studio and, often, into his work. He has projected large, bronzed branches from gallery walls, imbedded bees and flowers into three dimensional works and used tree stumps as the basis for lithographs that may then be enhanced with feathers or gathered materials. A walk through his studio is not unlike a walk through the woods, except that the views have been filtered through Nash Gill’s imagination and presentation. A graduate of the Tulane University with a M.F.A from California College of Arts and Crafts, Nash Gill has exhibited widely around Connecticut as well as throughout the New England states. His most recent one-man show was at the New Britain Museum of American Art in the fall of 2004. Nash Gill’s work is in the collections of IBM, Boston Public Library and the William Benton Museum, as well as many others.
Dina Varano also brings the shapes of nature into her studio, but interprets them in silver and gold. Her necklaces, rings and bracelets reflect the leaves, seeds, pods and webs of the natural world. In the last year, Varano has begun to incorporate semi-precious stones into her jewelry, bringing new color to her once monochromatic renderings. Her work has a rhythmic grace similar to the natural forms that inspire it. Varano received her B.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design and was selected for the European Honors Program, allowing her to study at Istituto d’Arte in Arrezzo, Italy. She apprenticed with Goldsmith Eduardo Ermini in Rome, Italy. Varano studied at Penland School of Crafts with a concentration in sculptural forms and the exploration of natural forms. In 1995, she opened Dina Varano, a retail store in Chester, Connecticut, following on the heels of the success of her first retail venture in Essex. She has exhibited her work extensively in two-person, invitational, and solo shows throughout the U.S.