Posts Tagged ‘jestam’

Regina Benson and Ray Tomasso at Ice Cube Gallery, Denver 2015

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

Early in September, while visiting our daughter in northern Colorado, I enjoyed a gallery hopping day in Denver with friend Regina Benson who herself was exhibiting “Water Marks” at The Ice Cube Gallery.   Sharing the gallery with Regina was Ray Tomasso, whose recent collection of cast archival paper was titled “Memories of An Ancient Sea”. This gallery will be closing next year as the space has become financially unfeasible to the artists who lease it; and so that relationship could be said to be ‘melting’, perhaps. Maybe it was no coincidence that both these fibre artists gave watery titles to their exhibitions connecting water and landscape. 

In her home state Colorado and the other western states, issues of water usage, entitlements, over-usage, conservation of water resources and naturally occurring drought spells mean water is a serious public issue. In this collection of textile installations and paintings, Regina explores environmental, social and historical issues surrounding the abundance and scarcity of water, finding inspiration along coastal shores where she often dives, and inland landscapes that satellite imagery shows to have been shaped and scarred by water that long ago disappeared leaving ‘stark cracked surfaces with darkened paths of long gone water’.regina benson's jelly fish blog_edited-1

Regina’s work is frequently dimensional, and often to the extent that the viewer can physically enter and wander through her created environment – this time a large group of jelly fish hovering near the entrance as if in water that demanded my immersion!  Delicate and floaty, hovering at the end of very fine fishing line, they responded to the slightest air current around them, in a very convincing ‘watery’ way.

regina benson Sea gypsies 2 blog

From a gallery card “She creates an environment for visitors to pass around and between rivers, sea sides, and tide pools; sometimes imagined at a distance, sometimes immersed in depths, and sometimes revealed only in the cracked dry beds of past waterfalls and eddies.”   Other works were less dimensional, and perhaps half were flat against the wall but they were no less watery.

Below is a multi panel one I particularly loved, ‘Baltic Seaside’ for which she does not specify whether the inspiration is from an actual dive visit or something from her childhood revisited.  Here dry grasses in soft sand dunes filter fading daylight as the water views beyond the grass blend into nightfall.regina benson Baltic Seaside 1 blog (1)


Dry river beds in Arizona and northern Mexico are similar to images received by NASA of patterns left on the surface of Mars by long disappeared flowing water on that planet’s surface.  Those reports and Regina’s observations while flying over the drying South West led to a wonderful piece titled “Dry Spell”. Perhaps best of all the pieces in the exhibition, this textile rendering of a worn, dry, rocky surface using dyes, stitch markings and quilting demonstrates Regina’s ability to observe natural phenomena and present their essence in textile and fibre art.regina benson Dry Spell_edited-1 blog


Now to the work of Ray Tomasso, whose recent collection of cast archival paper casts was titled “Memories of An Ancient Sea”.  ‘Cast’ of course implies dimension, and these panels, while flattish, each protrude several inches from the wall plane.

Tomasso South Sea Odessy blog

Ray Tomasso “South Sea Odyssey”  40″ x 58″ x 7″

tomasso Aground On a Shoal blog_edited-1

Ray Tomasso  “Aground On A Shoal”    68″ x 90″ x 6′

I had not previously known of Ray’s work, and found it spoke to me of archeological material, such as unearthed decaying man-made materials on an excavated rubbish dump site, or along edges of dried up lakes or seabeds, such as Lake Baikal.  (as suggested by the exhibition title)  Certainly textural details in places suggest rivets or drill holes, and ragged edges might allude to some violent, catastrophic end event having taken place and been preserved in fine mud.  In total his work has an appealing air of industrial decay, and I loved it.

Explore his website for insights into his process, and the eco-friendly aspects of  his materials.

Photos provided by the artists.

What’s the Story?

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Quite often on the beach I find interesting sand erosion patterns; or entire dead birds and sea animals; or parts of non-marine animals such as goats and chickens, plus flowers fruits and candles, telling of offerings made from the beach to someone in the spirit world.  Some days more than others there is also debris in among the seaweed shells and drift wood, objects like those I collaged here, suggesting things lost and discarded.  We could speculate on what lies between each lost or abandoned object – a toy, shoe, drinks cooler, or breast enhancer from inside a bra …..

We would never know  if we were somewhere vaguely near the true story of how this object came here, or what the next stage on its journey is.  Will someone come along and pick it up before it is washed away again, and use it? It might be interesting to choose one such thing and make up a story about it.  Or perhaps write a series of short stories on each of the objects here … hmmmm and maybe I have spent a bit much time this morning reading reviews of books and stories other people have written to help build up the list of books to be ordered for the book group I belong to.  But for every author, there is always something that provides the starting point for their writing, something someone says or does, or something that appears or is found.  This morning I read a reviewer’s words along the lines that in places the reader has the impression of overhearing a long  phone conversation/chat between two friends including all the inconsequential little bits. I sometimes notice and am often amused by the amazing things people say in public toilets – I mean people who are clearly friends and while each is occupied in their loo cubicle they just continue their conversation for anyone to hear over the tinkling, farts and flushing !


Translate »
%d bloggers like this: