Of ghosts, mystics and metal
What: "Vanishing Relics"
Where: Perry and Carlson Gallery, Mount Vernon
WHEN: Through Oct. 31 (closed Tuesdays)
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
Todd Horton and Aaron Loveitt are neighbors along Blanchard Creek in Bow. Exhibiting together at Perry and Carlson Gallery in Mount Vernon, “Vanishing Relics” constructs a duet in paint and sculpture, each work employing historic materials.
Horton grew up in a “farming village” in Ohio. After studying history and political science at Ohio University, he taught English for a year in Japan, where, under the influence of its art, he began to paint on his own. Soon after, he was writing and illustrating children’s books in South Korea. Then followed some years in Germany where he showed his work in several exhibitions.
Horton now lives on a houseboat near Edison and works in a studio in Blanchard. A past year of residence in the late Clayton James’ studio cemented his reputation as an inheritor of the Skagit mystic artists.
At Perry and Carlson he offers portraits of wildlife drawn on found elements, each with a colorful provenance. “The ghost of a new forest” is a dreamy portrait of a lynx drawn with oil stick on secondhand army tent canvas. On century-old salvaged cedar shingles he has drawn images of a bison and a crow.
Works on wood panels that Horton inherited from the studio of Clayton James include “last refuge of the starry sky as the night expands”—a memorable image of a bison vanishing beneath phases of a waning moon. Also on a “relic” James panel is the evocative “sparkling dream of water.”
Horton transformed a fascinating find into museum-quality art, framing a rusted steel fence that had been flattened by traffic into the semblance of a mountain range—“how the west was lost and pushed the sky away.” Dripping tar mimics a reflection.
Aaron Loveitt studied art and design in New York state and became a master of shaping steel, glass, neon tubes, aluminum and wood. He recently moved his Altility Art Studio from Bellingham to Blanchard, where he enjoys being surrounded by forest and water where only traces remain of industry that flourished a century ago.
His shop is a fabricator’s dream, with a massive hydraulic press, furnace, grinders, drill press and overhead bridge crane. He creates sculptures and mobiles, artistic structural braces, stairways, street signs, outdoor lighting, mounting brackets and display stands for homes, offices, museums and public spaces—all fabricated from imperishable materials, even as he’s inspired by the clean shapes of nature such branches, seaweed and the wind itself.
The centerpiece of the Perry and Carlson display is Loveitt’s sculpture, “Fell,” created out of Bellingham waterfront industrial scrap. Weighing perhaps half a ton, it mimics the form of an old-growth cedar stump. From eight-inch refinery steel pipe, Loveitt sliced and slumped what might be chess pieces for giants—stunning sculptures, entitled “Stack.” Another graceful piece, “Wake,” has been repurposed from a fragment of an oil tanker sunken in Bellingham harbor.
These two artists zero on the passage of time. That’s apt, as less than a week remains for you to see their fascinating exhibits.
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