The exhibit opened on April 5 and the reception shortly thereafter the following week was a success as the gallery was filled with enthused visitors. The Marin Independent Journal featured the exhibit in an article in its Artists & Galleries section on the 12th, just before Easter weekend.
The organizer and coordinator for the month-long showing is Peter Keresztury, an artist and professional photographer. He serves as Co-Chair for the event and spokesman for Marin Society of Artists. Keresztury told this reporter earlier just before the exhibit opened that he is very pleased to be able to present this event. “I want people to see the exhibit and to appreciate sculpture – all kinds of sculpture is represented here.”
He was very conscious of having the exhibit coincide with International Sculpture Day. As he told me and as was reported by the Marin IJ, “I got the idea for ‘A Sculpture Exhibition’ last year after participating in a Pacific Rims Sculptors exhibition in San Jose.”
Keresztury explained that “the International Sculpture Center, which sponsors the event, has a Northern California chapter of Pacific Rim Sculptors.” I asked him if photography was like sculpting. Yes in some ways, in that it is a capturing of something, a feeling, an idea, etc. But he noted specifically. “With sculpting an artist has to map everything out, every step, plan ahead, to avoid mistakes.”
And if one looks to some of the masters of sculpture throughout history, such as Michelangelo for instance, this is true. He went to great lengths to create his work. It is said that Michelangelo could see what the block of marble or stone was going to be before he even put a chisel and mallet to it. Some historians note that the Renaissance master would not bathe or even change his clothes, when engaged in his work. Even so, Michelangelo understood how much painstaking effort was made to retrieve a slab of quality marble from the quarries of Carrara, Italy. One mistake and the entire slab could crack.
For today’s artists, sculpture can use many types of material. This is evident especially in art of the 20th Century and beyond. Yet no matter how abstract, art still looks to the familiar and the classic.
“I love Matisse, said artist Catherine Merrill. But I also appreciated Bernini and Caravaggio. They way those artists captured true inner spirit is amazing.” She specializes in the human form and her work was included. She talked about her art and how thrilled she is to be part of the exhibit at Marin Society of Artists. “It’s exciting and I am so pleased with the space, she said because there is lots of room. And, this is very good for San Rafael.”
Merrill who has been a sculptor for decades has told me before, venues are difficult to find, especially for artists and their patrons. Merrill is one who views human form as vital, sees no shame in the naked body, be it male or female, in any shape or dimension. “A body is beauty in its own way,” she said. “People don’t realize that the body is our instrument, our vehicle, vessel in which we can express ourselves in thought and in emotion.”
She pointed out that humans (as far as science tells us) are the only beings on the planet who can express a variety of complex thoughts and emotions. And the way we do that is through art. “The human form is universal and has been expressed all through-out history even in prehistoric times.”
Making art full scale and true to life for the human form is something that Merrill strives for constantly. She has done painting, pottery and other crafts. But sculpting is her favorite medium. “My goal is simply to capture the beauty of the human form; true to life as possible. That is why I like to make art as life-size as possible,” she said. Venues and galleries with high ceilings, expanded space lend themselves to art work like Merrill’s. She does not shy away from epic partitions.
She also mentioned she find it ironic in our high tech age that artists are “in a paradox right now, because in some ways technology takes us away from the use of our hands.”
Pushing of keyboard buttons, clicking of a mouse is not the same as working with clay, smelting metal or carving with wood. Merrill sees this very clearly and advocates that artist not be afraid of using one’s hands.
‘A Sculpture Exhibition’ exhibit at the Marin Society of Artists continues until April 30th. Located at 1515 Third Street in San Rafael, the gallery is open to the public Noon to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, admission is free.
For more Information visit the Marin Society of Artists web site or call 415-454-9561. See Marin Society on Facebook.