Artist Spotlight: Elisa Adams

This April, Abigail Ogilvy Gallery looks forward to presenting the work of sculptor Elisa Adams in the duo show, Liminal Drift. In Adams’ hands, the rigid material of stone comes to life and forms fluid, organic shapes that dance with energy.

Adams began working with stone just over a decade ago, discovering the material in the studios of the deCordova and then spending six years sharing a studio with six other women artists. Adams spent those years forming a connection between her fingertips and the stone, challenging its limits and harnessing its strengths. Presently she works at her own studio in Concord, MA, and can coax even the most stubborn stone into smooth leaves that are nearly transparent.

Adams’ physical connection to her material is an important aspect of her work. Though she works with power tools to more readily execute more intricate elements of her pieces, she still sees value in the slow, deliberate process of working stone with simple hand tools, even as she learns new methods.

Contemplative  White Laced Alabaster 19 x 9 x 6 in

Contemplative
White Laced Alabaster
19 x 9 x 6 in

She explains that, “The ability to touch as you create is such an essential part of making a piece. This adds another dimension in the process that I wasn’t able to do when I drew or painted. It makes my mind think in totally new ways.” She treats the stone as though it is alive; she learns its story and how its identity, shape, density, and the path of its veins determine the way she carves. 

Adams draws inspiration from natural elements. Her current body of work is a tapestry of her journey as a sculptor, including elements from both her abstract pieces, nature-influenced works, and figurative sculpture. She takes soft shapes from nature and recreates them in stone, and also incorporates them into her abstract work. She loves Georgia O’Keefe’s flowers, and incorporates that awareness of nature’s sensuality in her sculpture. 

Adams’ figurative work is inspired by the studies on the Italian Rivera, through which she learned the admiration and appreciation of the female form honored in their art. She spent four years studying the shapes of the body, working them with respect and care into stone.

Her process is a long journey. Her piece, Intertwined, is a twisting, winding representation of three lilies, carved in milky alabaster. Intertwined took Adams a year to complete, as she worked the three forms into one another so that they formed a cohesive shape. She continuously turned it as she carved, letting no one part of the piece feel disconnected from the whole, the petal of one interacting with the leaf of another. The piece is carved so delicately and intricately that in places the hard surface is translucent, as though it would fold like a velvety petal between your fingers.

Intertwined  White Alabaster 12 x 5 x 5 in

Intertwined
White Alabaster
12 x 5 x 5 in

The spiraling crevices of a seashell, the curling petals of a calla lily, and the subtle contour where hip meets waist are all forms present in Adams’ sculpture. Walking around each piece, one finds the balance between hard and soft, nature and construction, and the peace experienced by the artist as she brings the stone to life, chip by chip.

 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016: Puloma Ghosh

5 Amazing Women Shaping the Boston Art Scene

Can you name five women artists? This is a question posed by the National Museum of Women in the Arts in the wake of Women’s History Month in March. Their social media campaign, #5WomenArtists, spreads awareness about the disparity in male versus female artists prominent throughout history and today. Throughout the month, they will post information about women artists and hosting events to make steps to mend the gap.

Abigail Ogilvy Gallery represents and features a number of strong female artists, and believes that they are a vital part of Boston culture. Here are #5WomenArtists we think are making an impact in the Boston art scene to get your list started.

1.     Greer Muldowney

Photographer, curator, and professor at Boston University’s School of Fine Arts, Greer Muldowney is not only producing her own work, but also educating young artists who will determine the future of Boston art. Her work not only captures beautiful urban landscapes, but also turns a lens on the social and political climate of the cities she photographs. She is also a coordinator for the Flash Forward Festival (running May 1 – 8, 2016), which organizes a week of free photography in Boston. To learn more about Muldowney and her work, check out Cate McQuaid’s Boston Globe profile, Building Momentum!

Series: 6,426 per km2, 2010-2011

As If It Were Already Here , 2015 Boston Greenway

As If It Were Already Here, 2015
Boston Greenway

2.     Janet Echelman

Janet Echelman is the artist behind “As If It Were Already Here”, a magnificent netted sculpture installed between downtown Boston and the waterfront in spring and summer of 2015. Having lived and worked in Boston for many years, Echelman brought with her the experiences she gained traveling through Asia, which led to her experimentation with unique materials for sculpture. Creating fluid, dynamic pieces out of lightweight materials that respond to environmental elements of light, air, and weather, Echelman transforms the experience of sculpture and public art. Her installations have been featured in public spaces in four continents, and she’s given numerous lectures and TedTalk, Taking Imagination Seriously.

 

 

 

3.     Elisa Adams

After decades of being a successful chiropractor, Elisa Adams rekindled her passion for art at the DeCordova Museum School working with stone. Her sculptures remarkably transform solid stone materials into rich, organic shapes with smooth curves and hidden openings. Adams is involved in the local art scene, showing at numerous galleries and jurying exhibitions throughout Massachusetts. Abigail Ogilvy Gallery is looking forward to exhibiting her work this April.

 

 

 

4.     The Safarani Sisters

The Safarani Sisters is a pair of Iranian twins who have had a long artistic career, beginning from a young age. After studying a variety of disciplines at the University of Tehran, the Sisters are spending time in Boston attending Northeastern University and The School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Combining classical painting and video, they create atmospheric, meditative pieces that are subtle but compelling. Their performance work has been featured locally and internationally, and takes the viewer on a unique internal journey.

Cocoon  Performance, 2015 Image courtesy of safaranisisters.com

Cocoon Performance, 2015
Image courtesy of safaranisisters.com

5. Julia Powell

Julia Powell is a successful lawyer turned quintessential New England painter, drawing from the lush natural atmosphere present throughout the region. Her work moves impressionist tradition into the contemporary with a vibrant palette and sharp brush strokes. A portion of all of Powell’s sales benefits the Agora Partnerships’ Accelerate Women Now, an initiative to support Latin American women innovators and entrepreneurs—not only is she an amazing woman herself, but she also empowers a new generation of women in charge.

Winter Birch Series 1, 2016
Oil on canvas
20 x 24 in

 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016: Puloma Ghosh

Defining the “Emerging Artist”

Since the recent opening of our gallery, we are often asked about the artists we will be featuring. Our response always includes the term, “emerging artists.” This leads to the million-dollar question: what does “emerging artist” mean? Ultimately, there is no exact or singular definition of an emerging artist, we can only define the term as it fits into the context of our gallery. 

According to Abigail Ogilvy, “the term emerging artist is interchangeable with the phrase 'new artist.' The work is not defined by the age of the creator, although we do call it 'young art' - meaning it is new to the contemporary landscape. These artists are passionate about their own body of work and have the freedom to define how they will make their mark in the art world. What is exciting about an emerging artist is that their work today may be very different in five years, ten years, but that is what makes the work emerging is that it is dynamic, constantly evolving, and always growing.” 

We asked a few of our artists to weigh in on the topic:

"Outside the Lines" by Katie Wild
Photo courtesy of Abigailogilvy.com 

Katie Wild, considers the act of emerging as transitional. “Emerging artists are typically classified as recent MFA graduates and resolute risk-takers (such as myself) who have snowballing potential but do not yet have a big museum on their Curriculum Vitae.” For Katie, it is the transformation from new artist to an established artist. She continues, “We are the voices of today screaming passionately to all who will listen in hopes of becoming the music of tomorrow.”

"Sway" by Holly Harrison
Photo Courtesy of Abigailogilvy.com

Holly Harrison proposes that all artists are emerging in various ways throughout their careers. “Making art can be such a solitary activity,” she says, “so in that sense the process of putting work out into the world is an emergence for every artist, whether they are fully established or just getting started.” 

"Untitled" by Elisa Adams Photo Courtesy of  Abigailogilvy.com

"Untitled" by Elisa Adams
Photo Courtesy of Abigailogilvy.com

Elisa Adams’ view of “emerging artist” has changed overtime. “The first thought I have, when I think of “emerging artist,” is one who creates later in life…but when considered more fully, it really means a space to create art, to grow concepts and to further develop skills.  “ Elisa has been sculpting 3D forms out of stone for eleven years. She still considers herself emerging as she develops new skills each day as her sculptures present new challenges.

Since there is no true definition for the term “emerging artist,” some artists choose not to use any labels when defining themselves or others. Sara Galkin prefers to strip down the labels created by the art market, “As a label I do not consider myself subject to a definition because I am just being me.” 

 

 

Wednesday, October 28, 2016: Lacy Tell