Sept. 1 – Oct. 6, 2016
Porch Gallery Ojai presents Renewed Inspiration: New Works by Jeffrey Crussell & Pamela Grau. As a creative couple, Crussell and Grau mutually investigate the process of imposing beauty and meaning onto discarded materials. They harmoniously zigzag together, both as artists and partners in life, sharing an interest in aesthetics and a passion for making things. In doing so they look at ways to affect lives, create beauty, wonder and mystery.
Grau’s latest body of work is composed of wool felt scraps found in her daughter’s New York City hat factory. Through her process of coating the fragments and weathering them, she imposes her artistic style on this treasure trove of discarded materials. Grau’s work is a contemporary hybrid between the constructivism of sculpture and application of paint; a process of re-examining everyday objects. The work is contemplative in its simplicity. Like the snowflakes that powder a northern field, the resulting blanket is not composed of identical bits but hundreds of unique parts. The whole speaks to the individualism contained within community. At the core of Grau’s work is a discussion about expansion and containment and the struggles between structure and chaos.
Crussell creates pieces from everyday objects and repurposed materials found in gritty streets, alleys and dumpsters. In his series “Sky”, he utilizes found pieces of paper, weathered and stained with organic materials. Although the images imbedded in the materials were produced by exposure to the elements, the artist’s hand is apparent in the chosen compositions of the pieces. With careful consideration in regards to the placement of the marks and stains, each section is carefully cut or torn from a larger piece. Crussell’s background in architecture is evident with the graphite drawings of houses that he adds to the paper. The structures, dwarfed by the Rorschach landscapes created with Crussell’s loose but analytical style of patterning the paper, inhabit the paper likes plans for homes designed to play off the lakes, trees and hillsides that surround them.