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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Yolanda Sharpe: Ink and Wax

Yolanda Sharpe: Ink and Wax
Selections from Foliage and Still Life Drawing series
and Urban Fragments Painting series
September 24-November 5, 2011
The Earlville Opera House
Opening September 24th, 6-7:30 p.m.

Note on the photographs:
I took these before the start and after the close of the opening to Yolanda's show in the upstairs gallery. The photograph of two artists speaking with two pieces from The Urban Fragments series shows Lee Yardley with the curator of the Painter Picks Painter show in the East Gallery downstairs at the Opera House. Unfortunately, her name tumbled out of my head... Two other shows are now on display, so a drive to Earlville lets you meet with the work of five artists. The Painter Picks Painter show features Steven Ginsburg, Sarah McCoubrey, and Gary Trento. In the West Gallery is Fleeting Dreams, a solo show of the paintings of Chun Arthur Wang.

Yolanda's note on her encaustics:
The Urban Fragments (2009-2010) painting series examines change and flux when urban environments experience loss. Many of the paintings are remembrances, my meditations of Detroit.  Some images invoke billboard image remnants, architecture, and the way natural forces impose upon change and neglect. Non-representational abstractions show visual fragments and cues. The encaustic medium helps to describe passages of time and layers of visual history. Paint layers, objects, and drawing remnants are derived intuitively. Also, Urban Fragments fuses drawing remnants (from my Foliage and Still Life series) with the paintings as objects with physical depth of colors and surfaces. I want the paintings to convey solid forms and shapes that are diaphanous and luminous. This series promotes colors than are pared down to vibrant essentials. While some colors are mixed and layered, others are blunt and vivid.

Yolanda's note on the drawings:
The 2008 drawing designs focused on re-inventions and improvisations by combining fragments of other drawn images. Many of the drawings are part of the still life tradition (using a collection of various objects from the home environment: glass, patterned structures, cloth, metal surfaces, ropes, and woven structures) and nature (foliage and various plant life forms.) Geometric spatial constructs helped to build the compositions and feed my intuitive approach of working. The dominant medium for this series is pen and ink, with some mixed materials.

The wedding of pen and ink with encaustics:
While I had seen pieces from each series separately, it was interesting to see the two groups of works brought together, since fragments of drawings crop up in the encaustics, half seen through layers. Meanwhile the drawings also work in a collage style with images cropped and fitted together, but they often utilize the idea of collage in a playful way. Yolanda feels that she works intuitively, but she brings to bear a keen intelligence and her decisions--while arrived at by instinct, perhaps--are clearly conscious ones.  Some of the selvages between fitted pieces appear almost invisible, and yet there are teasing faux selvages that are "artificial" or not selvages at all but simply (or not so simply!) the tantalizing work of pen and ink.

More Yolanda Sharpe:
To look at more of The Urban Fragments, go to my prior post on that series (including poems by Yolanda.)  Yolanda is having a big month for shows, as she is also included in the On the Mark group show at the Martin-Mullen Art Gallery (12 artists from The New York Foundation for the Arts Mark Program 2010, including Ashley Norwood Cooper of Cooperstown) at SUNY-Oneonta, September 6-October 15.  In addition, she has a large-scale watercolor in Watercolor Revisited: A New Perspective, curated by Linda Mendelson at the Wayne State Art Gallery.


  1. I really wish galleries would start to do "virtual openings." Webcast or webconference the opening and some of the works.

    Would really like to go or even buy, but it isn't gonna happen if I am not "there"

  2. Gary, that is brilliant! Especially since so many artists and writers and so on turn out for these events... They could do some grand podcasts.

    Actually there is some video of Yolanda's Detroit opening--haven't looked at it yet but want to.

  3. Great to see the artist with her work in what looks lke a lovely setting, thanks Marly!

  4. marja-leena,

    The Opera House is wonderful... Had a little trouble taking pictures of the work under glass in the upstairs gallery because one side is mostly windows, so there was a lot reflection and bouncing light.

  5. That is a nice idea, Gary. People could even arrange to buy pieces online if they wanted to, what with Paypal and a new thing of the same kind, Pop Pay or something of that nature.
    I like these black and white pieces very much; they seem the work of a totally different person from the others you showed us.

  6. But there are continuities between the two sets of works that would be evident if you saw them in person: the use of collage; the boldness; the playfulness; the actual use of pieces of black and white pen and ink drawing in some of the encaustic paintings.

  7. I'd put out the cry for attending galleries and not relying on the online experience. Never imagine that viewing work in an electronic image is even approximate to seeing it in person. I'm staggered by the number of artists and gallerists that now do their vending online, and at the number of people who acquire things by such means. If you think the work of an artist is significant for you, then board the train/coach/plane and get to the opening. Meet the artist. Speak to him or her. See the works on the walls so that you can understand the arc of the development. So many experiences these days are at a remove from the real thing because of our symbiotic relationship to the electronic world. Please don't let painting and drawing go the same way. And don't leave artists at openings with only a camera for company. Openings are our main ways of meeting our public.

  8. Clive,

    You're right; nothing can replace seeing the work in the real and meeting the artist.

    But I still think it would be fun to see a podcast if I could not attend!

    One of the problems in the U. S. is that things are spaced so widely--people are so far away, often. Not sure how to overcome that one, but maybe that's why people buy online.

  9. Congratulations, Yolanda! The black and white patterns are really powerful!
    --Mary Bullington

  10. They are wonderfully bold, aren't they?

  11. Clive,

    I agree that seeing pieces live and meeting the artist or craftsperson face to face is always preferred.

    However (there is always one of those), from my perspective here are the three choices:

    Choice A: Be there

    Choice B: Access through some sort of remote facility. And by the way, this CAN be a "meet the artist" - it doesn't have to be a recording.

    Choice C: No access at all because of timing or distance

    I'd rather the choice not be between A and C, though if the artist or craftperson makes that choice for me, I have no say.

    See what the Cleveland Museum of Art is doing to share with students worldwide. Or search for art offerings on the CILC website. I think you'll be amazed.




Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.