In her second two-person show at The Dolphin, Sharon Nickodem exhibits her distinctive blend of photography and collage. She feels this combination of forms unlocks subconscious connections and reveals a deeper reality than photographic images by themselves can attain.
Nickodem began her artistic life as a photographer of landscapes and macro subjects, which she especially liked because the close-ups revealed what the viewer often overlooks. Then, five years ago she attended a collage class at Gualala Arts that opened a new approach to her subject matter. She has been experimenting with combining the two genres ever since.
She includes materials taken from magazines, her photos, collected mementos and written script from old books and postcards. “The effect is amazing,” she says. “The assembled image may recall a past event, memory or even a dream, but this process can bring a deeper interpretation to the subject matter than photos alone can achieve.“
First, Nickodem assembles collage materials in the traditional manner. Next, she scans the composition and reworks it on her computer, adding layers and additional elemen
ts until she creates the desired result. Lastly, she prints the final piece on high-quality archival paper. The result is an integrated image in which the elements flow together, but without the raw quality of handmade collages.
Besides drawing on old found objects and memorabilia Nickodem also experiments with surreal shapes and vivid colors to make abstract compositions. In both approaches, she strives to create a world that people normally can’t see.
Nickodem retired from a high-tech Silicon Valley job in 2006. Attracted by the vibrant artistic community in the area she moved to her Anchor Bay home and became involved in Gualala Arts where she has volunteered her services in many capacities. She has been the Exhibit Committee Chair, is currently the lead librarian for the Gualala Arts Library, and has served on the Board of Directors. She is also active in the North Coast Artists Guild, showing her artwork regularly at The Dolphin and The Discovery Gallery.
Once this month’s 3-D artist, Mike Sorbelli, saw samples of Roman, Egyptian, and glass objects of other ancient cultures, he was inspired to work in the medium himself. Over 25 years later he will display his creations at The Dolphin Gallery. Like Sharon Nickodem, his partner in this exhibit, Sorbelli’s work provides vivid examples of how a traditional craft rooted in practical necessity can be raised to the level of artistic expression.
Most interesting is the process Sorbelli calls “Kaleidoscope Glass.” It is a labor-intensive method that requires skill in shaping bars of glass, an eye for color and design, and a lot of patience. To complete a single piece requires over 100 hours not counting the time needed to design and cut the pieces and it requires knowledge of both fusing and casting techniques. Sorbelli pays careful attention to the light source so that the same piece will have a dramatically different appearance when seen from different perspectives.
Each one-of-a-kind geometric pattern is reminiscent of the patterns one sees in a kaleidoscope or of the rose windows in medieval cathedrals. For Sorbelli this process can also trigger interesting variations that change the patterns and break the symmetry in evocative ways. In addition to his “Kaleidoscope Glass” Sorbelli fashions pendants, lamps and even night lights.
Sorbelli began fusing glass when he attended a class in Richmond, California. Then, he took additional classes in nearby Berkeley and Emeryville. Through trial-and-error, he has refined his skills. In 2000, Sorbelli moved to Southwest Florida where he continued to experiment, bought a kiln, and entered several juried shows. He returned to California in 2007 and currently resides in Manchester.
Sorbelli is a founding member of the Coast Highway Artist Collective in Point Arena, a member of the Artist Collective in Elk, and he has had displays in the Gualala Arts’ December Gualala Salon. He took first place in the 2014 Gualala Arts show “Silica to Sparkle” in his category.