There is something incandescent about the last art show of the summer, especially when in a packed house in the upstairs gallery and down in the G.B. Stuart Gallery of Carlisle Arts Learning Center (CALC)
On Friday night, you could hear a pin drop. The galleries were filled with art that brought its own heat. That is “Art” with a capital “A,” when it speaks for itself in hushed tones and whispers. Art that requires no fanfare at all. Its pronouncements are clear as a bell or a bulb, both in photographs and in pottery from two masters of their craft.
Home can mean a different thing to each and every one of us. For some, it is a place to hang your hat. For others, a place to kick back and relax. It can be a haven and even a bit of heaven. Home is a state of mind. Not so much what is on the inside but what awaits in the world outside.
Lori Snyder, philosophical photographer, captures it all in a new, shared exhibit that opened at CALC on Friday and runs through Sept. 21. Showcasing her as a “naturalist” photographer means more than talent due to the surroundings she captures on film. The exhibit is aptly titled “This Place I Call Home.” Her imagery transports the viewer to places reserved for peace and quiet—out in nature, the sight of the master canvas, never the same twice, always surprising.
Snyder does her best in expressing that love for nature in all its simplistic beauty. From obedient orchards to majestic mountains, fertile fields and wild waterways, all add up to indelible images that linger in our collective memory. An open field beckons with just a pair of trees in transition titled, “The Maples in Autumn.” It is the openness of space that frees the mind and the rest of the senses. To imagine the solitude felt in that moment as the light shades the area cascading through the leaves is nothing short of boundless bliss.
Sharing the stage and his love for nature—in the sense of incorporating raw materials sourced locally for his wood-fired stoneware—is potter Kurt Brantner.
Brantner’s path to pottery was a circuitous one in that his college studies at Kutztown were in fine art as a painter. However, he chose a road less traveled after taking one pottery class and becoming fascinated with the process, making it a lifelong pursuit. When one looks at the sheer magnitude of some of his larger vessels, it’s hard to fathom the skill it takes to turn clay into such a towering treasure. It is nothing short of gravity-defying art.
Brantner uses an old-world method to create his pottery, one that dates to fifth-century Japan, firing his wares with an anagama kiln. There are a number of variants employed in this labor-intensive process that takes 70 to 80 hours of firing and uses up to five cords of wood sourced from the area. The results are worthy of admiration and appreciation for the art and the artist that brought them to life. Brantner’s subtle style is that of a geologist searching for the right clay and turning it just so and firing it to its glorified end. Some of his best pieces reveal a sheen in the way the glaze elevates a simple pot to a rare thing of beauty. From everyday coffee mugs to collectible earthenware, Brantner’s range defies category, but instead creates art that speaks a language all its own. If you listen closely, a piece may speak to you.
Snyder and Brantner, two Cumberland County artists, are each experts in their own fields. One uses a camera, the other, clay, complementing and completing a circle of continuity. After all, everything in life, to a certain degree, is interrelated as CALC’s Cathy Stone shows with this collection.
We as the human race are all connected to each other on a grand scale. Or at least we should be. Art has the power to change ideologies, to shift the paradigm from fear to friendship. Art connects us in ways unimaginable and in vastly different arenas. The disciplines of art, literature, fashion, music and sports, all unique in their approach, contain unifying elements that can trigger global responses and elevate the soul of mankind to new heights. All one has to do is share from the heart.
“This Place I Call Home” runs through Sept. 21 at Carlisle Arts Learning Center, 38 W. Pomfret St., Carlisle. For more information, visit www.carlislearts.org.