Diana Moore, curator at D&R Greenway Land Trust in Princeton, exhibited signs of a creative spirit at a young age. When her parents gave her holiday gifts she spent hours inventing different ways to use the boxes those presents came in. This year, her creativity has manifested itself in the Greenway’s Textures and Trails, an exhibit highlighting the Greenway’s preservation mission with artwork in uncommon media.
At the opening on Dec. 12, several of the artists offered insight into their work.
Aylin Green, who will offer an artist lecture at the Johnson Education Center Jan. 19, has created a pillow during an iron pour at Grounds For Sculpture. Green, who has served as volunteer coordinator, education manager, teacher, and development associate at GFS, often creates collages using tissue-thin vintage women’s clothing patterns. For the iron pillow, “It’s about transforming something soft and femine into a hard and durable medium,” she says. “The pillow is an intimate object. It is witness to the dream life, and the lace pattern (in this iron pillow) relates to my other work in domestic craft.”
In her mixed media work “Transported,” Joy Kreves incorporated a Dresden figurine her inlaws gifted to her years ago. “I hated it,” she says of the figurine. “It sat around for years.” Then, Kreves took a papermaking workshop with Judy Tobie in which she incorporated weedy grasses. “I stuck in (the Dresden doll). She’s so proper and indoors, and the grasses are so wild. She’s learning an aspect of life she’s not familiar with.”
Kate Graves is also for her work in metal, as well as quiltworks. Textures and Trails features two enormous quilts from the 1990s that enliven the century-old Johnson Education Center’s wood beams with luminous color.
In 1991, Graves returned from Tibet and Nepal, where she’d been living with a host family and taking classes, as well as visiting holy sites, and worked on these quilts that are homages to stupas, or chortens, or Buddhist reliquaries. “They can be tiny and made of butter, or massive and made of local materials like clay,” says Graves.
Graves has loved patchwork and pattern making since her childhood, and learned it from her English parents. “Working in textures and pattern is a counterpoint to metal,” she says.
In fact, she can’t stop herself from making quilts, and often gives them away. A large healing quilt by Graves can be seen at Capital Health Systems in Hopewell.
In “Pressed,” Frances Heinrich starts with three large dahlias that have been pressed “in the traditional way” using a phonebook. “They shrink by 40 percent but maintain their textural beauty and residual color, and are surviving well under glass,” she says. (They are in dark wooden boxes lined with green velvet.) Standing upright are three old irons that had belonged to Heinrich’s mother. “It’s interesting how things become obsolete, and sometimes you can’t think what it was for.”
On the base of the iron, Heinrich has transferred photos of dahlias. And, then, on flat plates, she has photo-transferred the flowers. “I’m playing with dimension, and it challengers you to see what’s real and when it’s combined,” says Heinrich.
“‘Pressed’ is also very much about the preservation of all things natural, beautiful and often fragile,” continues Heinrich. “It’s about respect for the past and about honoring older low-tech values. The older irons recall a simpler time and here are partner to the effort of preserving something of transient delicate beauty.”
Tricia Zimic currently has an exhibit at the State Museum in Trenton, Essential Life: Painting and Sculpture by Tricia Zimic (look for my upcoming story in U.S. 1 about that exhibit.) She identifies endangered species, researches them, and imagines, what if they came back. What if, for example, a pack of wolves returned to Newark, and with the original habitat lost, roamed like a pack of hoodlums against graffiti-decorated urban decay? Here, she focuses on the endangered Indiana Brown Bat.
D&R Greenway Land Trust Alan M. Hershey talks about the connection between the artwork and building trails: