Francois Morelli (exhibition)

Francois Morelli begins his artist’s statement with a common rhetorical device, the question. “What is parenting?” Both obstructing and complicating the query, he answers, “Tying up shoelaces.” In this tiny, well chosen dialogue, we find the seeds of Morelli’s recent exhibition. For “What is parenting?” is an insurmountable question, yet Morelli does offer a return that traces, in all its sketchiness, a shoelace-thin line of reminiscences and half-memories. Parents carry out ephemeral actions (firmly making knots, emphatically tying bows), knowing that protection can rarely be our gift to children. A walk through Morelli’s installation is peppered with the tugging discovery of solitary children’s shoes. They are, to our comfort, always contained within larger, lacy wire constructions, which straddle associations with (angelic?) wings, skeletal beds, nascent aeronautics, impossible insects.

The shoes, found in The Bridge (1994), Nursery Queen (1997) and Heaven’s Gift (1996), syntactically parallel an elderly, stained pillow in Squadron (1992-96), a pair of paring knives in Domestic Flight (1995), and a pesticide sprayer in The Incident (1996). If read in context with the fragment of Morelli’s genealogy, scaled in large silver letters at the back of the gallery, these semantic clues kindle the realization that the yearning to protect, present in Morelli’s hand-woven steel sculptures, is for the young and the old. The two sandblasted glass panels which face the family tree are etched with scenes of a funerary procession – a prone adult in each panel, borne by several infants with oversize hands, an index of eventual adulthood. These panels, hung low and reminiscent of classical funerary sculpture, are coda to the genealogy, itself the spine of the exhibition.

Squadron is the graceful first piece encountered when entering the exhibition space. Five metal high chairs, precisely welded, compose the work in a sweeping arc. Resting within/on each chair is an elaborately constructed wingspan of hand-woven wire. These wingspans, and their relation to the chairs, speak lyrically, both of immateriality through their vacant forms and childhood imaginations with their implied but animated flight. Disrupting the uniformity of the arc, and the suggestion of flying, is a stained pillow that weighs down one of the ten wing tips. This soft pillow is, ironically, what gives Squadron its edge. Not a glamorous fallen angel, not the dramatic wreckage of an airplane, the fallen pillow is the heavy debris of lived experience: night sweats, bad dreams, muffled tears.

The power of these works comes from the intensely crafted nature of the pieces, containing but not covering the objects the artist has felt compelled to keep. These objects, amended with immobile wings, are poetic testimonies to futility in the face of another’s pain, to the inevitability of causing sadness, and to the acute longing to protect a child’s innocence. His and Hers (1996) bespeaks the solitude within coupling. Morelli has created two wire, wing-like “beds” which are mounted in an apparently precarious manner, perpendicular to the wall and raised two feet from the floor. Where the wings meet the wall is where they would meet a (human?) body. The pillows of Morelli’s parents, slightly discoloured, rest at the “heads” of the beds, at the juncture of wing and wall. The wing-beds are side by side, but not connected, much like the wings in Domestic Flight installed nearby. This second, related piece also features a dyad, one wing slightly larger than the other, and each fashioned with a variation on Morelli’s weaving technique. These wings hang roughly at shoulder height, inviting the viewer to pass between them and risk the presence of two kitchen knives pointedly aimed towards an absent body. There is a calm violence to Domestic Flight. The subtle differences and space between the two knives, between wings, acknowledge that human unions are not the conflation of two halves into one whole, but an often contentious struggle of wills, of personalities, within the agreement to join.

Morelli’s exhibition resonates with an internal aesthetic language via the repetition of forms, as with the echoing of Squadron’s wingspans in The Incident. Seated in a found (kept?) high chair that could have been the prototype for the metal chairs of Squadron, the wingspan in The Incident is compounded by a pesticide sprayer, making an ironic insect of these wire wings. Again we are confronted/reminded of the immense power of childhood imaginations, denoted through the anthropomorphic chair, but even more so through the faded – but still startling – robin’s-egg-blue bear painted on the back. I am reminded of Roland Barthes’ concept of the punctum, a small detail in (for Barthes’ purposes, a photograph) a visual composition that unravels a larger meaning, or turns the narrative of an image inside out upon contemplation. An emblem for this avenging insect/angel, the scratched blue teddy bear narrates an enormous vulnerability within its smallness, and contextualizes the transformation of the insecticide. “Cide,” inferring something that kills: in/cide/nt. The battered aspect of the chair and pesticide sprayer signifies a history of minor damage, an unnamed but ominous finale. Yet we are left with the object itself, which is whimsical and humorous for all its darker undertones.

Entomology and etymology warp and weft within Morelli’s larger (frame)work; genealogy and the str/ange discovery that birth and death are not simply the beginnings and ends to the chronicle of life. They are temporary (joyous, heartbreaking) interruptions that impact upon us within life’s cyclical flow. Accordingly, the other sculptures in this exhibition have the quality of interrupted narratives, but these are not eschatological incidents; they are quiet encaeniae; hushed dedications and commemorations of moments in life and the silencing of death. Like the memory of a relative, Morelli’s narratives will go on, less a limb, less a wing, or not.


Andra Acker

Andra Acker

AFTH After-School Art Teacher

Audra

I received my bachelor’s degree in 2008 in Art History from Texas State University. Previously, I attended The University of
North Texas where I studied sculpture and other studio art in depth. I currently enjoy making my own welded metal sculptures and
creating other art with my 7 year old son. I have experience as a Teaching Assistant working for Dripping Springs ISD, AISD, and
The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. I plan on completing a teaching certification in Art Education and Special
Education. This is my first year teaching for Arts from the Heart, and I am so excited to be a part of this magnificent community
driven program that truly came from the hearts of artists. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my love of the arts
with your child, and I hope they are as inspired to create as I am by teaching them.

I am thrilled and honored to be an educator for Arts from the Heart because of the arts empowerment that they provide for the
youth of the Wimberley community. By organizing an arts program that allows for children to express themselves creatively I feel
they are providing one of the most enriching opportunities available. The need to express is within every living thing and by
creating this program our children have that wonderful creative voice. I look forward to sharing my own art ideas with the
Wimberley community and hope that your children have fun with the projects they create.

I believe one of the most valuable aspects of art education is that it inspires all ages to new possibilities that they otherwise might be unaware they possess. I believe every person has the ability to uniquely create, and by exploring the subject of art they can reach their own true potential. Educating about art enhances a community’s culture and allows people to express in a positive way. Art education is essential because it provides children with a chance to do what they do best and use their imagination creating a balance for other areas of learning. Children love art, and they benefit from the creative release that it provides for their overall wellbeing.


SHARON CARTER

SHARON CARTER
AFTH After-School Art Teacher & CORKS AND CREATIONS INSTRUCTOR

sharon

Sharon has had an exceptionally productive career as nationally showcased illustrator, cartoonist, muralist, painter, & weaver.  With a BFA from the university of Texas, she was certified as an art teacher in Hawaii, and has taught for over 30 years. Sharon hosts painting parties in Wimberley, Texas. You can find her teaching Corks and Creations classes at AFTH Studio 201 the first Thursday of every month!

Much of Sharon’s career has been associated with the publishing and printing industry, and teaching everything she knows.  Unlike many art teachers, as an experienced professional artist in the schools, her credibility as a “real artist” is performed by demonstration while instructing her students. Students feel very comfortable with her, and really look forward to Art Class.  In Wimberley for five years, she currently contracts as a painter, feature writer & photographer, book editor, illustrator & cartoonist. She teaches art, cartooning, and weaving at her home studio, Arts From The Heart, and (for three previous years) at Deer Creek Rehabilitation Center. “Painting Parties” are a new favorite activity!


Emily Lewis

Emily Lewis
AFTH After-School Art Teacher

2013 Artist in Residence, Arbitrary Hill
2012-2013 Fiber Arts Teaching Assistant, Texas State University
2011-2013 Teacher, Stepping Stone School

emily

I chose to be an Arts From the Heart educator because I love teaching, but most of all I love seeing children get excited about being able to learn and take something home with them at the end of the day.

I think the most valuable aspect about art education is that you can create projects for kids that incorporate other areas of study including math, science, literature, and history.  This enables them to see these areas of study in another light while having a creative outlet.

Artist Statement from current body of work, Built From Thread, at Arbitray Hill Residency Program

Showing Oct. 11-20th at Old Oaks Ranch Fiber Arts Studio

My artwork is based on my concept of memory and identity.  I believe that memories are subjective experiences that shape people into who they are and who they will become.  I enjoy using fabric as a metaphor for this concept because the material is woven together from a single thread, and it changes over time, much like our impressions do.

I explore the subject as combination of archeology and creative writing.  Hand embroidered thread is my writing tool to express these stories in each of my pieces.  Some narratives are fictitious, some are biographical, and others are a combination of both.  Everything is made in order to closely observe and relate to the fragility, intimacy, and trauma of a person’s life.


Sarah McSweeney

Sarah McSweeney
AFTH Guitar Teacher
Member of Amanda Mora Trio
Singer and Songwriter, Sarah Marie Music
Music Teacher, Wimberley Montessori
Bachelor of Music & Music Education, Simpson College

sarah

I was thrilled when Arts From The Heart asked me to teach guitar classes for their after school program. I love and admire these women who have dedicated their time and efforts, to make music and the arts an essential part of children’s everyday lives. They have collectively put a lot of thoughtfulness and heart into this worthwhile cause for the fantastic benefit of the kids in the Wimberley community, and I’m proud to be a part of it.

Practicing wasn’t something I always wanted to do. There were a lot of tears and arguments about my friends getting to play outside while I had to sit at the piano and practice. But my mom didn’t give in. She was old school, and practicing came first, no exceptions! At the time I didn’t believe it when she said that I would thank her one day. But alas, mom was right. All those years of practicing, and putting in my time every day at the piano paid off. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, and today I thank her for it.


Mary Grace Barbee

My name is Mary Grace Barbee and I am very excited about being your child’s art teacher at Jacobs Well Elementary.  I am a certified teacher with a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Education from Texas A&M University.  I have seven years of teaching experience, with two of those being in a K-5 art classroom.  I have spent many years teaching private art lessons as well as painting professionally.

mary

Why did you choose to be an Arts from the Heart Educator?

More than anything, I love working with children and fostering creativity.  My goal as a teacher is to pass along all the knowledge and perspective that was given to me as a child.  When I was young, I was fortunate enough to have several art teachers and family members that impacted my life.  They provided me with opportunities to create and experiment with art, encouraged me to believe in myself, and taught me a few life lessons as well.  One of my favorites that I pass down to student today came from my great-grandmother.  She always told me “If you make a mistake, there is always way to make something pretty out of it”.  Learning to not give up, and to think out of the box, has helped me in so many areas of my life.  I hope that my students will be able to apply it to their lives as well.

What do you think is one of the most valuable aspects of art education?

The value of art education is priceless to me.  It encourages students to be original, challenge themselves, think creatively, gain confidence, appreciate perspective, experiment, express themselves, and learn history. All this while making a big mess and having fun!


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