ART TALK: Metz, Gachet display and discuss artworks

Published 3:00 am Friday, January 16, 2015

Larry Percy and Ted Metz talk during an Art Talk at the Johnson Center for the Arts. MESSENGER PHOTO/THOMAS GRANING

Larry Percy and Ted Metz talk during an Art Talk at the Johnson Center for the Arts.

The Johnson Center for the Arts hosted a reception and art talk Thursday evening for the three artists whose work is on exhibit throughout the gallery.

“Together Again for the First Time” features the artwork of Ted Metz and his wife, Robin Metz, who are exhibiting together for the first time. Sculptor Randy Gachet’s “Subterranea” involves reclamation and transformation pieces constructed with reclaimed tires, concrete fragments, welded steel and wire.

Ginny Hamm, a gallery docent, said the exhibits are among the most amazing she has seen.

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“It is just incredible what these artists can create with materials that most of us find no use for and certainly see nothing artistic in,” Hamm said of the work of the sculptors. “And, the paintings Robin Metz are just as amazing in their color and their design and her pottery etchings are phenomenal. It cannot imagine anyone could have this much talent.”

Ted Metz’s hand-built, tin sculptures are a retrospective of antique tools. He uses metal and glass to give the tools another dimension.

“These sculptures are in honor of the tools that were used during the turn of the last century and the Industrial Revolution,” Metz said, adding that the ingenuity of those who designed those tools created the basis for the technology of today.

“Actually, there are three series here,” he said. “The first series includes hands that are offering something. As a teacher, I offer my students something. Whether they take it or not depends on them.”

The second series includes a layout – the design, planning – before construction and the third series includes something from nature, a bird or antlers or such.

“There is a spirituality about this series, not ritualistic, spiritual,” he said.

Ted Metz rustic sculptures are in contrast to his wife’s brightly colored, almost whimsical paintings.

“But we are one,” Robin Metz said, with a smile, and their exhibit does have a oneness to it — a togetherness.

Metz, who was first an illustrator, laughingly, said she is a child of the 1960s, when everything was bold and bright and color was in high fashion.

“I love color,” she said. “I love happy things.”

Metz’s life has not been without tragedy including the death of her daughter just a year ago.

“But I love happy things and I want my artwork to reflect happiness, not sadness,” she said. “I paint happy things. “

The couple often plays off each other’s talent and focus. For the Johnson Center exhibit, they have collaborated on pottery work that is on display in the Tile Gallery.

He throws or hand-forms the pottery and she hand-paints and etches the pottery. It is very impressive.

The lower gallery of the Johnson Center has been transformed into a wonderland for the imagination.

Gachet used found materials to form whirling funnel clouds and menacing crows and turn tires into turtle shells. He has used television wires and plastic tabs to create trees or organisms or sea creatures.

He takes the unfamiliar and turns it into some familiar. He takes industrial materials and turns them into works of nature.

“Much of my work suggests the return of the industrial materials to nature,” he said. “I take materials that have been discarded and give them another purpose.”

A greater purpose perhaps.

Gachet’s “jar tree,” has limbs that are heavy laden with jars and bottles filled with colored materials. The containers are so artistically arranged that they give the illusion of Japanese lantern hanging from the tree branches or a sweet smelling tea olive tree blowing in the breeze.

Vicki Pritchett, Johnson Center executive director, said the reception and art talks were well attended and visitors to the gallery were blown away by the talent of the exhibiting artists.

“It was an honor for us to have Ted and Robin and Randy here for this event,” Pritchett said. “Talking with the artists and learning more about how their artwork is envisioned and created was a unique opportunity and one that greatly enhanced our appreciation for the work they do. We can’t thank them enough for being here.”