Saturday, May 20, 1-3 pm, “Conversation with the Artists” in the Burnett Gallery. Fels and Singer share their inspirations, creative processes and the importance of mutual support to our creativity. They will have molds, samples of materials and steps toward a finished piece. They welcome questions and hope to encourage creativity.
A shared showing of works by two friends working together through art, life challenges and celebrations in this rural, coastal community for more than 40 years. Both artists use unconventional materials in eccentric ways, exploiting common materials and using what is at hand.
Carolyne Singer is a military brat. Until she was 15, she lived on army bases, moving every two years. As a young child, Singer lived in Japan, then New Jersey, California, North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona, Virginia, and New Jersey a second time. Her family explored the outdoors together, attended concerts and museums of all kinds. After her father retired, her family settled in California and she attended Sacramento City College and Sacramento State College, majoring in art and minoring in biology. Singer attended University of California at Davis in her 40s, studying clothing history, design and construction.
“My family made things,” Singer says. “My paternal grandfather was a stone sculptor and woodworker, my mother an expert seamstress, my father a mechanic and woodworker. My brothers and I grew up comfortable with the creative process and working with our hands.”
Singer has shown her sculptures in one-woman shows at Quicksilver Mine Company in Guerneville and her abstract oil pastels at Quercia Gallery in Duncans Mills. She has participated in numerous group shows, studio tours, craft fairs, and organized group exhibitions and sales in her home.
“Throughout my creative life the human body has been my subject and reference point. I have made one-of-a-kind art clothing and jewelry, puppets, figure drawings, abstracts based on figures, masks and sculptures cast from life,” Singer says. Often, she is the subject of her art, as her pieces are as much about internal processes as external appearances. “Now, in my 70s I am exploring the effects of age on my body, psyche and art making. The skeleton has become a jumping off point, the body’s framework – the last part to disappear – symbol of life, death, re-birth.”
Transformation, theater, humor and color are at the heart of Singer’s work.
Singer’s work evolves from an idea which she problem solves until she finds a way to express it. “I love re-purposing common materials. I use a variety of craft and art techniques – inventing new ones when the need arises.”
Singer has lived on the Sonoma Coast for 44 years and has been active in building a close, supportive community. She says living close to the land, ocean and wild creatures has a profound affect on her well-being and nurtures her art making.
For artist Sieglinde Fels of the Sonoma Coast, inspiration comes from many sources. Perhaps it’s something she read or something she heard on the radio. But whatever it is, Fels says, it is something that rings true.
“It can reside in a fragment of paper or a profound experience. Through making art, I am attempting to say something. If the piece speaks for itself, I have succeeded.”
Fels likes to work between the edge of art and design, and the fields she tends to return to and play between are the loose gesture of paint, the graphic impact of silkscreen, the form and wholeness of three dimensions and the tableau and stage of relief.
“The work for this show began with finding an ornate mirror frame, from which I made a mold,” Fels said. The mirror frame became her stepping off point. After casting it in paper pulp she began cutting it apart and using it repeatedly to frame a stage or adorn her work, using gesso and paint in layers, allowing the paper fiber to show through.
Over the past 10 years, Fels has been working with a system of casting grout over ceramic shards and found objects embedded in sand to create one-of-a-kind reliefs. Adding paper pulp to this process has led her to explore many different ways of working with paper. Most recently, Fels has been casting paper pulp into molds and layering paper over forms to fabricate what she thinks of as “pulp icons.”
Fels was born in Seattle and grew up on Puget Sound. She attended Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle and studied painting at Sonoma State after moving to the Sonoma Coast.