“Stone. Glass. Wood.”: New Work by Christopher Curtis, Paul Schwieder, and Duncan Johnson

West Branch Gallery
Nov 18, 2014 11:07PM
Red Lotus
West Branch Gallery

In the exhibition, “Stone. Glass. Wood.”, West Branch Gallery & Sculpture Park features work by three sculptors at the height of their careers. Christopher Curtis, Paul Schwieder, and Duncan Johnson each carve, cast and assemble sculpture that reflects a mastery of the medium and the expression of contemporary thinking. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, August 16, 2014 from 6 to 8:30pm. Artist and novelist Richard Alther will present a brief discussion of their work.

Christopher Curtis uses stone as it is found in nature. Cognizant of its history and future, Curtis engages the stone in a dialogue through carving and polishing that releases an altered identity. His process marries the hand of man and the natural world. The objects allow the viewer to contemplate humanity’s place in time and the universe.

“Strength, fragility, transparency, opacity, fluidity and stasis; these are all elements that I attempt to instill or refute in my work,” said Paul Schwieder. With unique forms and bold, monochromatic color palettes, Schwieder makes glass sculptures that entice the viewer to ponder their relationship to the objects.

Duncan Johnson’s two-dimensional wood works hover between painting, sculpture and collage. Their visual power is rooted in the harmonious coming together of his source material. Using discarded wood gathered from landfills and construction sites in Vermont, the pieces are marked by expert craftsmanship and skilled woodworking. Johnson references quilting, architecture, and the digital world while maintaining a strong connection between the material’s history and the viewer’s humanity.

“Stone.Glass.Wood.” affords the viewer the opportunity to investigate how a concept is expressed in contemporary sculpture. The exhibition compares and contrasts three mediums and explores the practice of three artists who have mastered them.

About Christopher Curtis: Christopher Curtis is a native of Stowe, Vermont, born in 1951. He attended the University of Vermont where he was influenced by teacher and friend, Paul Aschenbach, who stressed continuous output as a key to constant improvement. Curtis practices this by creating, on average, about a dozen large sculptures per year at his studios in Stowe and Barre, Vermont. His public commissions include a commemorative sculpture and time capsule at the Vermont Ski Museum in Stowe; Exit Strategy, placed outside the Appleton Museum of Art in Ocala, Florida; a work at the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen; Venus, outside Main Street Landing’s Union Station on Burlington, Vermont’s Waterfront; and in the permanent collections of the State of Vermont, the City of Burlington, and the Town of Stowe. Although most of his sculptures are in stone, he also works in fabricated metal, sometimes mixing the two media. He is a partner in The West Branch Gallery and Sculpture Park in Stowe.

About Paul Schwieder: Born in 1963 in Saskatchewan, glass sculptor Paul Schwieder was trained at the Sheridan College School of Craft and Design, the Orrefors Glass School, and the University of West Bohemia. His work has been exhibited in the U.S. and Europe and is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, the Corning Museum of Glass, and the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, among others. Schwieder lives in Sweden.

About Duncan Johnson: Duncan Johnson earned a BFA from the Pratt Institute in 1987. Since then, he has been the recipient of several awards, including a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Artist Grant in 2010, an Academy of Arts and Letters award in 2009, two Individual Artist Grants from the Vermont Arts Council, in 2005 and 2009; and publication prize in New American Painting. His work, Color Code, was commissioned by the Hotel Vermont in Burlington for their lobby. Johnson’s studio is in West Hartford, Vermont.

West Branch Gallery