ANN WEBER – At the de Young Museum through February 28th

Power – Mystery – Cardboard
“The resourcefulness of making beauty
from a common and mundane material intrigues me.” — Ann Weber

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

The de Young Museum continues to host ANN WEBER: Power, Mystery, and Cardboard through Sunday, February 28th as part of the Artist-in-Residence Program in the Kimball Education Gallery. Weber transforms the ordinary medium of cardboard into towering organic shapes, some as tall as 16 feet. The shapes are reminiscent of pods, gourds, and organic spires that relate to the artwork in the de Young’s Jolika Collection of New Guinea Art. To create the sculptures, Weber weaves strips of cardboard together to form basket-like structures, reinforces the seams with staples and coats the exterior with a polyurethane or shellac finish. Weber explains, “working with a palette of simple forms: cylinders and circles, the sculptures are symbolic of male and female forms and the natural world.”

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Wedding Party, 2009. Photo, Lee Fatherree.

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Strange Fruit 2006 and Tiny Dancer 2006.
Cardboard, staples, shellac, steel bases. Photo, Lee Fatherree

MEET: Ann Weber
California sculptor Ann Weber has an extensive background in ceramics with over 15 years of experience. Weber received her MFA at the California College of the Arts in Oakland. In 1991, she began working with cardboard; the lightweight flexible nature of the material aids her in constructing large-scale structures. She has had solo exhibitions at the Boise Art Museum, University of San Francisco, the Triton Museum of Art in Santa Clara, the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, the Fresno Art Museum and the San Jose Museum of Art.

“My artistic journey began with Ceramics spending 15 years making functional pottery on the wheel before leaving New York City for California to study with Viola Frey and Art Nelson while pursuing an MFA at California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland.

I started working in cardboard in 1991 because I wanted to make large forms and wanted to eliminate the cumbersome process of clay and the weight of large clay objects. Using Frank Gehry’s cardboard furniture for inspiration I decided to use the same material for abstract shapes. The sculptures read as metaphors for life experiences such as the balancing acts that define our lives or how far you can go with something before it collapses. They are large primal forms that can represent seed pods, figures, architecture, relationships, pearls.”

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Studio view with Strange Fruit 2006 and Almost 2005.
Cardboard, staples, shellac, steel bases.
Photos, Lee Fatherree

“Working with a palette of simple forms: cylinders and circles, the sculptures are symbolic of male and female forms and the natural world. The resourcefulness of making beauty from a common and mundane material intrigues me.”

almost-and-tiny-dancer
Almost 16 & 15 and 1/2, 2002.
Cardboard, staples, polyurethane, steel bases.
Tiny Dancer 2006.
Cardboard, staples, shellac, steel base. Photos, Lee Fatherree

“Transforming the cardboard by casting it into bronze for public art projects enables me to explore the idea of creating something from nothing, turning straw into gold. One of the unique qualities of my public art is that the sculptures have a psychological component. Neither entirely representational nor literal, but something in between, I want the viewers to bring their own associations to the artwork. I use historical and art historical references to evoke memory, relationships and morality in my sculpture. In addition to making a strong statement as a work of art my work is accessible to people who do not have an art background. My goal is to make artwork that relates to the site, the environment, the purpose of the space and the people who will be using it.”

THE ARTIST STUDIO PROGRAM

The de Young’s Artist Studio is a residency program for emerging artists and community-based art groups that allows visitors a chance to explore a working studio environment. Every month, the de Young invites artists to install and demonstrate their art form at the museum. This interactive program enables visitors to meet artists and gives the artist an opportunity to work with the public.

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ANN WEBER. However Many It Takes 1995
Cardboard, staples, polyurethane; from 62 to 95″
Photo, Sivila Savage

* * * * * *

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

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