Monday, August 9, 2010

Waterfire Providence

A fire sculpture of a Phoenix by artists Donna Dodson & Andy Moerlein was set alight on the confluence at the Steeple Street Bridge at 9:15pm during Waterfire Providence on Saturday August 14th. The artists built a 20 ft sapling structure, wrapped it with straw, soaked it in mineral oil and set it on fire. By synthesizing the elements of the natural world and a mythical creature, the artists' piece surged up from the earth in flame. Click here to see the full video by Robert Jean on Youtube.

Donna Dodson graduated cum laude from Wellesley College in 1990 with a Bachelor of Arts. Her pre-med studies and her passion for Egyptian art led her to study sculpture with Joseph Wheelwright at his studio in Boston in 1995. She continued her studies in sculpture with Peter Haines at his studio in Cambridge by learning how to abstract and resolve forms. Since 2000, Dodson has been honored with solo shows in New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Kansas, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Dodson enjoys public speaking, and has been a guest speaker in conferences, panels and forums at the University of Rhode Island, Pittsburg State University, School of Visual Art and Stonehill College. She is a member of the Boston Sculptors Gallery, College Art Association and the Wellesley College Friends of Art. In May 2007 she started the Art Salon Boston at her studio in Jamaica Plain to meet artists of all disciplines and host monthly conversations on topics of interest to artists in Boston and beyond.

‘My artwork celebrates the mystical relationship between human beings and the animal kingdom. My vision is to create standing animal-headed figures of the female form that are sculpted in wood. The challenge is to fuse feminine sensuality, sexuality and soul with a well-proportioned figurative vocabulary. The natural grain of the wood interacts with the form and shape of my sculptures in a fluid way. I often stylize each piece to enhance the girl, woman, queen or goddess within. The mouths, or in some cases beaks, are closed symbolizing the mysteries they embody. These figures are sculpted in sizes ranging from one to four feet tall. I use color in both subtle and bold ways to activate each piece. They are created as archetypes, and each one invites a personal experience from the viewer. The creative process that brings me to the completion of each work of art presents tremendous challenges, making my art a lifelong study with lessons for my eyes, hands, mind and spirit.’

Donna Dodson

Andy Moerlein is a nationally exhibited sculptor. His work has been shown in museums, sculpture gardens, and galleries from Alaska to New York. Mr. Moerlein has an extensive resume of public art works. This summer his work can be seen at Constellation Center’s Public Art Installation in Kendall Square Cambridge MA, Mill Brook Gallery and Sculpture Garden, Concord NH, the Riverway in Nashua NH, Market Square, Portsmouth NH, SculptureFest, Woodstock NY and Gallery Ehva in Provincetown MA. Mr. Moerlein’s installation work has also been featured indoors at venues such as the Johnson Museum, Ithaca NY, the Hood Museum, Hanover NH, the Currier Museum, Concord NH, the Everson Museum, Syracuse NY and a variety of private galleries and college art settings. His smaller models and indoor work will be featured in two summer shows. July 2nd and 9th his work opened at Gallery Ehva in Provincetown MA and then in September he will be showing wall works and new prints at Franklin Pierce Law School in Concord NH.

Mr. Moerlein has been an arts advocate, gallery director, educator, and professional juror for over 30 years. He has curated shows in Bend, OR; Rochester, NY; Brockport, NY; Ithaca, NY; and Manchester, NH. His articles and reviews have been published in numerous regional newspapers and arts magazines. He has been a teacher and gallery director at the Derryfield School in Manchester NH for 15 years. Moerlein holds a BA from Dartmouth College and an MFA from Cornell University. He lives in Bow, NH.

I spent most my childhood in the Alaskan outdoors. I have a personal familiarity with rural life. Daily work and physical challenges inform all my creative decisions. I love to observe and respond to the way the world is constructed.

There is a basic antagonism between all objects and beings. The equilibrium we see as our everyday world is the result of a beautiful and dynamic balance. The interface between roots and stone, dead flesh and water, frigid snow and warm earth is always a confrontation. My role as an artist is to present my personal understanding of this natural conflict. I contrive and imagine an interaction that is both sensual and manipulated. My work recognizes that my own narrative is part of this antagonism and balance.

Image: Phoenix, 20 ft fire sculpture, 2010

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