Husband and Wife share “Common Roots”
This month Gallery 92 West presents “Common Roots,” in the Lubker Gallery. The mixed media show features the work of husband and wife artists, Jason and Meredith Schleicher.
Jason graduated from Fremont High School, and we are proud to say, was the fourth to receive the FAAA/Hazel Keene Memorial Scholarship. Jason attended UNL and earned his BFA degree with emphasis in painting and printmaking. His work has been shown in various galleries in Omaha, including the 13th Street Gallery, Fluxion, Jackson Street; at the Burkholder Project in Lincoln and Zainul Gallery in Bangladesh.
Meredith studied Fine Arts at UNL before transferring to Metropolitan Community College to specialize in Graphic Design. She has worked as a graphic designer in the Omaha area for thirteen years while continuing in the Fine Arts studying metal-smithing. She is currently apprenticing for her father, Papillion Metal Sculptor, Al Rhea. Meredith and Jason have one daughter, Rhealynn.
The work of these two artists is diverse yet shares a common, connecting root–nature. Jason states, “I am exploring mankind’s relationship with nature–specifically trees–in the context of use or setting. The life of a tree has parallel stories of transformation and rebirth both in the natural world and in industry. By way of man and machine, a tree undergoes a significant transformation when processed for goods. Only by ending its life and taking it out of the habitat it provides in nature, does a tree take on a new existence–barely resembling its former self–contributing to and blending in with our fabricated environment.”
“Each ply [in a sheet of plywood] represents a chapter in the life of trees as the rings of the trunks have been peeled, cut, and stacked.” Jason reveals pieces of the past when layers are chiseled away and splintered. The absence of painterly brush strokes makes the transformed wood piece look like it has occurred naturally. His images then echo the essence of nature while showing a rebirth in our constructed habitat.
Meredith adds, “I’ve always liked the idea of taking nature home with you, whether collecting shells and sand at the beach, or weaving a crown of wild flowers. Each of these treasures is a symbol of that place on earth.” It is this concept which inspires her jewelry and sculpture. She channels her experiences with nature and makes a three-dimensional representation of it. She works in mixed media, most often metal. “If I can reclaim or reuse something to make these preserved memories of nature, I also help to preserve our environment.”
Meredith’s most recent jewelry designs involve the use of copper, as she is drawn to the antique, earthy look and feel of the metal. She cuts, files and embosses the metal, then adds patina inks in layers to create a weathered look, achieving ripples and waves of varying colors and the illusion of organic materials and textures.
Similar movements appear in her sculptures. “The hard stainless steel softens as plant-like shapes appear in the swirls of metal. Using a plasma cutter, various grinding and shaping tools, and a MIG welder, I produce shapes found in nature…my memories and experiences guide me in creating these small sculptures with big feelings.”
Come meet the artists, Jason and Meredith Schleicher, at the opening reception, Friday, August 7th, 5 – 7 p.m.
B.H. Gehringer Gallery: Baines’ glass art shatters expectations
The glass works of Fremont native Jesse Baines is featured in the B.H. Gehringer Gallery this month. Jesse is also part of the Artist’s Coop Gallery in Omaha where he has exhibited work since 2012.
He is proficient in all phases of glass work: beveling, casting, sand blasting, leaded glass, copper foiled glass (Tiffany style), beading, and crystal repair. His passion for the past several years has been using glass powders in kiln formed glass. All the color appearing in his work has been purposefully added.
Jesse is currently working with layers of color on both planes of the sheet (front and back), and if carefully lit, color is reflected onto the wall behind the works. He is intrigued by line and motion, most notably horizon lines in nature. Jesse’s designs can be deceptively simple. Sometimes he must climb a ladder to sift powders from 6 feet above the glass. This distance helps the powders fall evenly and blend better. Through multiple firings and many different temperatures Jesse controls the texture, opacity, depth, and shape of the powders.
Jesse describes his artistic evolution: “I have always loved art–my book covers were covered in doodles!” During junior high, he started to learn basic stained glass from his aunt when the families gathered at Thanksgiving. “She would bring her tools, and some scraps and I would spend the day making sun-catchers. In 9th grade art, Mrs. Tellatin taught me further and I was able to make an 8”x10” panel.” His interest in stained glass piqued, Jesse purchased the supplies to pursue this hobby. In the 1990s Jesse’s uncle purchased a stained glass business in Omaha, and helped him with classes, and more supplies.
After graduating from Fremont High School, Jesse enrolled at the University of Nebraska-Kearney to pursue an interest in architecture. Before he could begin classes, though, the program was discontinued. After one semester at UNK, Jesse moved to Lincoln and began working at Palace Glass Company. Nearly a year later, his car broke down, and he was unable to commute to work. Jesse’s uncle, Dick Baines, offered him a job at his stained glass business.
Jesse now owns and operates that business in Omaha: Rainbow Artistic Glass & Design. “I really love how things come to be, and work out as if they were meant to happen. My only regret right now is being so busy that it is hard to find time for my own art and hobbies.”
Loft Artists: Jesse and Holly Kiefer (Mixed Media)
The Reception for the August Exhibits will be held Friday August 7th, 5-7pm