Thursday, Aug. 27, 2009

Elaine Erickson Demystifies the "Manifestations" Exhibition

By Peggy Sue
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Elaine Erickson Gallery closes the three-dimensional exhibition "Manifestations" on August 31. This exceptional show curated by Elaine Erickson at her gallery in the Marshall Building on East Buffalo Street in the Historic Third Ward features eleven artists displaying their artistic genius and often-international resumes. With her usual enthusiasm for creativity,  Erickson chats about these exciting artists and their work.

Q: Linda Wervey Vitamvas recently began her artistic career. Could you say something about this change in her life?
A: Linda was formerly a nurse and her husband a doctor so she has always been interested in medicine. Her ceramics have always touched on biomorphic shapes, usually in white. These ceramic bowls are black slip on porcelain, glazed with sgraffito. The bowls are applied with an extra layer of black slip, and then she inscribes them with text from an 11th century woman's medical book.

Q: Do you know more about the text?
A: It's from the 11th century, titled Diseases of Woman by Tortula of Salerno, Healer and Caregiver. Then in 1940, Elizabeth Mason-Hohl, M.D. translated the entire text. Its quite fascinating. They knew more than we thought.

Q: And what about Rory Burke? You've represented her since her graduation from UWM.

A: Rory sculpts these incredible heads but she started working on the birds a couple of years ago. She didn't want to show them. But she brought them in [a long horizontal branch with about a dozen sculpted small birds] and they've sold very well. I have orders for two more. But Rory didn't want to be known as a bird lady.

Q: How else has Burke's artwork changed since you've represented her?

A: It has been refined and more eloquent. Now she has even incorporated gold leaf on her heads, and she's fine-tuning. So the things [objects] she embeds in the resin have personal meaning, like reliquary. And now galleries in Chicago, Seattle and Switzerland also represent her.

Q: Could you speak to Lee Sido's work?

A: Lee Sido is an artist and we've sold two of his pieces. His large coffee cups held a head inside, with thoughts surrounding the head. The sayings came from 1930's and 1940's 'love cards,' which were sayings that taught you what to say to your romantic interest. He's also a teacher at Dekalb University.

Q: Anyone else you wish to speak about?

A: Yevgeniya Kaganovich teaches at UW-Milwaukee, is highly respected, and was just featured in Metalsmith Magazine. Her jewelry is silicone and pearls. The silicone is cast with the pearls inside the orbs [individually], so then when it's all strung together it looks like a pearl necklace. To make the pearls magnified, appear larger.

Q: As this show closes, do you have any final thoughts?
A: People have really responded to this show. The variety is different. It's all so appealing with very good artists. I love this show and the artists also complement each other, with great quality. The concept [of 3-D art] is really important, all amazing and intriguing.

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