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Spaces We Inhabit: Sculpture and Paintings by Alicia Forestall Boehm, Emily Rutledge and Mary Zeran.  Showing May 9 through June 8.

Opening Reception: Friday, May 9, 7:00 – 9:30 p.m. Reception is free and open to the public.  Gallery Hours: Tuesdays & Wednesdays, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Saturdays & Sundays, Noon – 4:00 p.m.

Featuring Alicia Forestall Boehm’s encaustic and fiber sculptures, Emily Rutledge’s abstract encaustic paintings inspired by street art and Mary Zeran’s abstract paintings of her native Iowa landscape.

Through different methods, each of these artists explores aspects of the influence “spaces we inhabit” have on one’s emotional well being. The exhibit is meant to engage the viewer in a conversation about physical and emotional space. Viewers will encounter geometric shapes and forms found in modern urban architecture, surfaces embedded with gritty texture, “tagging” like gestures and a bold, vibrant use of color.

Alicia Forestall Boehm is a sculptor living in Chicago and is drawn to the innate sense of order and change that can define an urban existence. Her encaustic and fiber sculptures reduce larger images and concepts into elegant simplified forms that acknowledge the physical and mental boundaries of the public and private spaces we inhabit. Working with the familiar materials of wax. cheesecloth, wire and twine Forestall invites the viewer to approach each work and explore the elements of color, shape and movement in the same way they might approach their environment.

Although Emily Rutledge grew up in a small southern town, she always felt more alive in the city. Inspired by the visual fabric of mangled handbills and posters Emily saw how the impermanence of the tattered logos, text and colors collided to form a chaotic college. Rutledge is interested in how the impermanence of street art reflects a similar impermanence in our lives. She works intuitively combining wax with scavenged wheat posters and image transfers. Because the wax hardens quickly, she finds it an interesting juxtaposition to the impermanence of the street scene.

Mary Zeran’s paintings tell a story of always coming back. After living in Seattle for twelve years, she returned to the land of her heart, Iowa. Her native state’s undulating hills, monochromatic fields of grain and puffed clouds provided a calming effect that contrasted with the chaotic city. She paints on acetate, cuts out shapes and arranges them on a painted surface. This process gives her the chance to be responsive to simple acts of cutting and pasting. She seals the current piece in a layer of water-based glaze. This is her way of interpreting the land, tapping into those internal rhythms and ways of being that are intuitive and automatic.

The Hairpin is itself a space that has served a variety of functions – first a factory and now a multimodal arts space. The themes of the show are reflected in the many meanings the building has had for the people using the space. Together, all three works explore this idea of place and how it can be interpreted.