New works from an old-school trio of artists are now wowing visitors at Edgewood Gallery
Syracuse is blessed with some amazing artists, and Three Form Expression, on display through June 24 at the Edgewood Gallery, both presents a range of artworks and demonstrates how veterans can continue to create interesting and compelling works. The exhibit encompasses oil paintings by Linda Bigness, Tom Huff’s stone sculptures, and Jerome Durr’s steel-and-glass sculptures. Each of Durr’s pieces stands just over six feet tall. Three Form Expression also displays enough pieces to get a good sense of each artist’s work.
Bigness, for example, shows her ability to improvise with color. “Song of Songs” is an upbeat painting with intense blocks of red and orange, a dynamic work with much energy. In “Falling Blue,” the artist uses blue as a base color and plays it off reds and greens. “Color Symphony,” meanwhile, relies on an interplay of red, gold, green and blue.
Beyond that, the exhibit certainly touches on Bigness’ approach to narrative. She creates abstract paintings, yet several of them do convey some sense of narrative. “Tree Song I,” with green and brown colors and shapes easily interpreted as vines, seems to reference nature. “Fall Beats” and “Jazz Notes,” from her “Musical Notes” series, evoke musical themes. Lastly, another of her oil paintings, “City of Notes,” doesn’t depict streets or urban landmarks. However, it still conveys a sense of the city, a view of what appears to be an urban scene.
Huff has more than a dozen sculptures on view, providing good exposure for his artworks. The show presents sculptures done in alabaster, limestone and three varieties of soapstone, and that gives viewers an opportunity to see how the artist works with various stones. In addition, the presence of a healthy number of sculptures helps emphasize ideas and motifs that have appeared in Huff’s works for almost three decades.
He has long incorporated facets of Haudenosaunee culture into his sculptures, depicting, for example, the Three Sisters, who represent corn, squash and beans. And he’s portrayed a turtle in various formats, drawing on Haudenosaunee tradition which sees the world as positioned on the back of a turtle. In addition, he’s explored key themes: the notion that each person is capable of good or evil and the belief that all forms of life, including humans, birds and animals, are worthy of respect.
The Edgewood exhibit presents various pieces emblematic of Huff’s art: a piece showing the twins, good and evil, in a push-pull struggle; an alabaster sculpture portraying a lizard; a sculpture in which an owl’s image is carved right into the stone; and “The Blanket,” with its portrayal of two human figures, perhaps a parent and child.
“Soul Journey” combines a depiction of a turtle and four small images of a person, seen in various stages of life: childhood, early adulthood, middle age, old age. It’s a fine sculpture in its own right and also documents the artist’s ability to continue delving into certain themes without any sense of repetition.
Jerome Durr, the third artist, certainly knows glass. For many years, he’s made a living restoring windows in churches and other buildings.
The three pieces he has on display at Edgewood belong in a different arena. Titled “Noon,” “Night” and “Morning,” the freestanding sculptures each combine a long, long sheet of glass and a smaller piece of glass. That piece, bolted to the very top section of the sheet, has geometric shapes and shades of purple color, among other aspects. The artworks, while sharing some similarities, clearly aren’t identical.
They seem to evoke a tower or other building, but it’s definitely not a literal interpretation. Rather, the pieces work with glass on a grand scale, discuss architecture in some fashion and ultimately influence viewers to draw their own conclusions. These are large, imaginative works best viewed several times.
Although the artists have drastically different styles, the exhibit isn’t totally based on contrasts. Having two sculptors in the show promotes discussion of their respective approaches to the medium. In addition, the exhibit makes good use of the gallery’s relatively small space, with a setup displaying large and small works, artworks on the wall and on the floor. Three Form Expression is well worth a visit to the Edgewood Gallery, 216 Tecumseh Road. The gallery is open from Tuesdays through Fridays, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call 445-8111.