VICKI JO SOWELL
“Before nature I am plunged into infinite admiration. For every one of her mysteries that she shows us, there are a hundred that escape us. We can only express small parcels of truth. If I am fortunate to make art over a long period of time, nature may show me forms which our watching eyes can see, but which our intelligence has not understood or suspected before. The sculptor must ally with this feminine principle--the incarnation of nature. My art is about acceptance, revelry, and revelation in the drawing of real form and substance into space. Through this union our human concerns, our complex yearnings and psychology gain their fullest meaning.”
Sowell has received numerous public art commissions, including those for created the cities of Oakland, Dublin, Emeryville, Concord and Richmond.
Born in the Bay Area into a family that savored the rich Japanese tradition of ceramics, John Toki has worked in clay for over 35 years. A respected studio artist and adjunct professor at the California College of the Arts, Toki is also the president and owner of Leslie Ceramic Supply Company in Berkeley, which his parents founded fifty years ago, and the co- author of several notable books on ceramic sculpture.
“I am a landscape sculptor,” says Toki, inspired to make sculpture through influences found in nature. Powerful shapes of mountainous forms, scraggly rocks, colorful sky patterns, and the ripples of the tides from the San Francisco Bay Area affect my work. My artistic vocabulary and voice is demonstrated through forming abstractions in clay.” Toki’s work has been shown in the US, the Netherlands and Japan and he has completed public commissions and installations in Richmond, Berkeley, Sacramento, San Francisco, Oakland, and Cincinnati.
Patricia Vader lives in a windy rural setting in the Briones area where she creates large outdoor sculptures with found objects ranging from martini glasses to 12-foot TV satellite dishes that are brought to life with the natural energy of the wind and the sun. In addition to her sculpture, her 26-acre property is filled with her sumptuous gardens and a menagerie of animals. Vader received an MFA in Sculpture from the California College of the Arts in 2001.
Gale Wagner believes that he has “had the great fortune to be a sculptor in this life. Now is the best time ever to be a sculptor because of the freedom(s), tools, equipment, support systems, and community of artists - not to mention that every material that has ever existed is at our fingertips. With the outdoor sculpture, I try to reach as many individuals as possible, and hopefully, everyone.”
Albert Dicruttalo’s work addresses themes of freedom, entrapment, and identity. Dicruttalo comments, “I employ a direct approach, often cutting and welding metal plates into hollow, geometric sections and juxtaposing them with bronze castings. The tension created between the organic contours of the castings and the hard-edged planar geometry is recurrent in my work. I emphasize formal spatial relationships to convey emotional content. My work summons associations of the strength and vulnerability of the human condition and cultivates a delicate line between escape and confinement.”
Dicruttalo received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Ithaca College in New York in 1989. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States as well as in France and China. In addition to creating his own artwork, Dicruttalo has curated sculpture exhibitions for the Paradise Ridge Winery in Santa Rosa, taught sculpture at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, and was a research assistant in the Program of Computer Graphics at Cornell University. Dicruttalo lives and has a studio in Oakland.
I’ve been an artist for more than 30 years. I’m in love with texture and color and these are the defining elements of my mixed-media work on metal. I create these works by applying multiple layers of texture and color directly onto aluminum plate. This way of working means that each piece is necessarily a one-of-a-kind work. During the process of layering texture and color, some elements are added while others are subtracted. This process is repeated many times during the development of each piece. For me, the experience is a kind of poetic dance of revelation and concealment. Each contour, each layer of color, each etched line leaves its mark and creates a history of sorts that hints at how the piece came to be. I see this as a powerful metaphor for Life. As a person, I'm interested in the history of things and people. I'm forever curious about how things came to be what they are...how we came to be who we are.
Colin Selig's work is a synthesis of sculpture and sustainable design. His unique process is to upcycle salvage propane tanks into functional sculptures. He carefully dissects the tanks and reassembles the pieces, while doing no additional forming of the metal. The result is an object which is playful, comfortable, durable and ecologically responsible. Aesthetically Colin draws on a variety of influences. Some designs are abstract compositions of geometric or organic forms, others are purely whimsical, and some pay homage to iconic furniture from past eras. After extensive research an ideal relative position of curved seat to curved backrest has been determined which provides good lumbar support for a wide range of body sizes, an ergonomic advancement over traditional benches with flat seats. Colin has been granted a series of patents for his designs, which have won national and international awards for their aesthetic, technical, and innovative qualities. His work has been installed in public, commercial and residential locations across the US and in Europe.
Raised in an ecologically conscious household the importance of conserving our planet’s resources was instilled in Colin from an early age, although his parents had mixed emotions when he took their message to heart and searched through the neighbors’ garbage on his way home from elementary school retrieving appliances and furniture he could repair. While studying metal sculpting at The School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston he earned a degree in Philosophy from Tufts University in 1987. His education from that time included apprenticeships with a machinist, race car fabricator, and public art sculptor. In the next couple of decades he continued to master his craft, restoring a wide variety of antique vehicles and machinery. In 2007 he began to focus on sculpting. Committed to a sustainable lifestyle he resides and works within an intentional community in the San Francisco Bay Area.