Debora Stewart: Abstract Pastel Paintings, & Mary Obodzinski: Raku
Iowa Artisans Gallery hosts the exhibit, Debora Stewart: Abstract Pastel Paintings, & Mary Obodzinski: Raku, July 26 – August 26, 2012.
Clinton artist Debora Stewart is garnering national attention for her abstract pastel paintings, which have won awards from Pastel Journal Magazine and International Artist Magazine. She just recently won a 2nd Place Award in a show organized by the International Artist Magazine in its Abstract/Experimental category. Her work was also accepted in the 40th Annual Pastel Society of America Exhibit to be held in New York City, with over 1000 entries and only 180 pieces accepted. Mary Obodzinski is part of the Illinois Artisans program and her work has been included in several publications, including three ceramic books published by Lark Books. Her Raku works include nontraditional forms, such as wall plaques, platters, lamps and architecturally-inspired vessels.
Stewart's pastels have evolved from representational to being an intuitive abstraction of nature. Her work is not an observational record but contains elements of an emotional experience in nature. Stewart’s pastels have been featured in publications such as A Walk Through Abstracts, Volume 3 by Sue. St. John and Finding Your Style in Pastel by Jean Hirons. Stewart has been invited to teach a workshop and provide a demonstration at the next International Association of Pastel Societies to be held in June of 2013 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She has also begun teaching workshops on abstraction in Canada and the U.S. (Read on below the image for more text.)
Obodzinski's raku involves creating ceramic pieces out of clay, firing them to a certain temperature, then plunging them into combustible materials such as straw or newspaper. The interaction of the fire from combustion and the copper red glaze is unique to each piece. Obodzinski comments, “I am intrigued by the combination of the textures that I use on my 3-dimensional work, how it reacts so well in combination with the raku glaze & the fire. Each tile is an abstract painting and enters the realm of paintings & hung canvases.” A resident of suburban Chicago, she is influenced by the elements of design and architecture as well as the relics of the Mississippian period, a mound-buiding Native American culture that existed here in the Midwest.
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