Gail Fredell and Jean-Pierre Hébert
October 1st - November 9th
Artists' Reception October 4th 5-7pm
Dedee Shattuck Gallery is pleased to present Jean-Pierre Hébert and Gail Fredell. This exhibit pairs two technical masters who create soulful, meditative, and deeply personal works.
Digital art and furniture design are two disciplines that have had to assert themselves within the definition of fine art. Wood-craft and computer technology may seem diametrically opposed, however the experiences of these two creative makers are aligned. Bold and innovative in their creativity and artistic identity, both artists have experienced similar pushback from the fine arts community. They respond by looking inward, and creating works inspired by their life experiences, intellectual curiosities, and personal passions. The breathtakingly beautiful work produced by these two artists is the product of courage in one’s own identity and values, and the mastery of technique and vision over a long career of art making.
In the fall of 2011, Dedee Shattuck Gallery presented, Digital Art: (R)evolution, an exhibition that charted the course of digital art from 1954 – present. The exhibit included a selection of early works by Jean-Pierre Hébert, a founding member of the American Algorists group, and a pioneer of early digital art. Hébert studies physics and meditation as a source of inspiration for his line-focused digital works. Wave theory, human breath, wind patterns, seasons and tides, are the building blocks for his algorithmic artwork. Motifs of interrupted symmetry, skewed concentric shapes and varying lines imbue the digital works with life and warmth.
Gail Fredell’s collects reclaimed beams and beautifully checked wood remnants, incorporating these objects into her furniture making. She is an expert on pickling wood, and uses natural chemicals to celebrate the textures and characteristics of the wood she collects. Inspired by Japanese design and Chinese antique furniture, Fredell creates works in homage to significant places, people, and pieces of wood. She begins with an emotional connection in mind, and the passion and respect for her inspiration comes through clearly in her shrine-like furniture objects.
Jean-Pierre Hébert and Gail Fredell
Wednesday October 1st – Sunday November 9th
Artists’ Reception Saturday, October 4th from 5:00 -7:00 p.m.
Gallery Hours: Wednesday – Saturday 10:00-5:00 pm Sunday 12:00-5:00 pm
I am a fourth generation native Californian, born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. I graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Architecture in 1974, and after four years of working as a general contractor, I returned to school and received my MFA in Woodworking and Furniture Design from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1980.
Since then I have pursued a career of studio furniture work, education and arts administration. I have maintained workshops in the Bay Area, the mountains of Colorado and North Carolina, and now Fall River, MA. I have taught extensively in workshop programs across the country, and from 1993 to 2001 I served as the Furniture Program Director at Anderson Ranch Arts Center near Aspen, CO.
In 2012 I was invited to teach in the Foundation Studies and Furniture Design Departments at RISD, and I have since then moved permanently to the area and continue to teach part-time at the College. I live in Westport Point, MA and work at the Smokestack Studios in Fall River, MA.
My furniture is in the permanent collections of SF MOMA, the Oakland Museum, The Fuller Craft Museum, Stanford University Memorial Chapel and The AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park.
I am currently a Faculty member in the Furniture Design and Foundation Studies departments at Rhode Island School of Design, and continue to design and build commissioned and speculative furniture work at Smokestack Studios in Fall River, MA.
I am a fourth generation native Californian, born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. My father grew up in the high desert mining town of Jerome, AZ and my mother’s childhood was spent amongst the pine and redwood forests of Northern California. They both had a great love of the Sierras, the canyon lands and desert of the Southwest, wide, open spaces and most of all, the Pacific Ocean. Family vacations, from my perspective the highlight of my childhood, were spent skiing, hiking, hanging out at the beach and traveling on marvelously long road trips across the Western states.
My work is informed by this upbringing grounded in the natural landscapes of the West, a life-long interest in Japanese design, so abundant in the Bay Area, and by my undergraduate architecture studies at UC Berkeley. I design and execute projects ranging in scale and scope from functional, residential furniture to public sculpture installations, for both interior spaces and landscape settings.
I employ a vocabulary of minimal, architectural forms, and use a wide range of materials, primarily wood and steel. My aesthetic has consistently been driven by an affinity for articulated structure, the nature of functional objects in reference to time and ritual, and my desire to create fully resolved compositions of contrasting elements, work that is at peace within itself and resting quietly in its place.
The collection of pieces for this exhibition at Dedee Shattuck Gallery represents the variety of scale, purpose and place typical of my work. The range is wide, from what I consider to be relatively soft and intimate pieces like “Mad Rush” and “Blue Tansu” to the more monumental and architectural “Hitching Posts #1 & 2”, for both interior and landscape settings.
I would like to acknowledge the support and camaraderie I enjoy from both the RISD community and from my compatriots at Smokestack Studios. In particular I thank Tyler Inman for our daily interactions at the shop, and for his generous contribution of technical, design, computer and metals expertise to many of the pieces in this exhibit.
It is a surprise to some folks that it has taken me so long (63) to have a show of this nature, but it all makes sense to me. This one is for my Dad; “Blue Tansu” is in memory of my Mom.
Jean-Pierre Hébert (b. 1939 in Calais, France) lives and works in Santa Barbara. From the 70s on, he has pioneered computational drawing and focuses on defining algorithmic drawing processes and translating them into images in traditional and new media.He has been artist-in-residence at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara since 2003, and has been awarded a Pollock-Krasner Foundation award in 2006 and a David Bermant Foundation grant in 2008. In 2012 he received the Siggraph Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement in Digital Art.
Hébert has exhibited his work internationally at institutions including theVictoria and Albert Museum (London, UK), the Brooklyn Museum (NewYork), the Kiasma Museum (Helsinki, Finland), the Block Museum at Northwestern University (Chicago), and the Tweed Museum at University of Minnesota (Duluth); at independent venues including the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum and Arizona State University (Tempe); at galleries including Galerie Alphonse Chave (Vence, France), SolwayJones Gallery (Los Angeles), and DAM (Berlin); and at conferences including Isea, Siggraph and Imagina.
Hébert has coined the word “Algorist" and founded the Algorists group with Charles Csuri, Manfred Mohr, Ken Musgrave, Roman Verostko, and Mark Wilson. His work is present in collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum (London),the Brooklyn Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Block Museum, and the Tweed Museum.
Images copyright: Jean-Pierre Hébert
I draw because I love to draw and always had a passion for drawings. Since the seventies, I have been working with the conviction that to gain power and beauty, drawing should become a pure mental activity, rather than a mere gestural skill. I have endeavored to make it so by banning the physical side of drawing.
Pursuing an ideal of beauty and ideal Platonic forms, inspired by my interests in patterns of geometry, mathematics, physics, nature (1), I create drawings by composing and writing down for each piece an original, defining code (2), or score. The aesthetic vision is expressed by the precise instructions and algorithmic processes necessary to release its potentiality. Stopping here would just be another form of conceptual art.
But this code can drive and precisely guide the chosen apparatus (3) to actually produce an observable proof of the concept on the chosen media (4) with the chosen marking tool (5).
The self-emergence of the drawing resulting from the translated mental vision is always a moment of truth, and a magically rewarding and fascinating performance, where one can be both witness and creator.
The digital prints in my recent show “Drawing with the Mind” are an outgrowth of my earlier works, literally drawn in the imagination, created in writing the proper software, and then realized with a large-format inkjet printer capable the greatest complexity and detail. Entirely based on lines, the very material of drawing, I call these pieces digital drawings, or works in code and pigment on paper.
My process is thus very much akin to composing or choreographing, or simply ... thinking. Drawing is just a thought.
(1) Concrete motifs, abstraction and simulation of light, wave, gravitation, mathematics, physics
(2) Programming languages (python, mathematica, scheme), some mechanical or electronics tinkering (3) Computer, plotter, engraver, inkjet printer, controller, motor, magnet, pendulum, etching press, etc... (4) Paper, copper plates, sand, water, display, wood, etc...
(5) Pen & ink, graphite lead, brush & watercolor, dry point, ball, sound, light, etc...
(6) This whole process is now sometime known as computational drawing
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