An eclectic, contemporary art gallery in the heart of Bozeman, Montana
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Artist Bios: Sculpture & 3-Dimensional Art
Peter's career in woodworking grew out of a background in architecture and design. A native of Southwest Virginia, he studied architecture at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. In 1969, he met and went to work for George Nakashima in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Peter credits the years spent at Nakashima's studio for much of his appreciation for wood and meticulous joinery.
In 1975, Peter returned to the Blue Ridge Mountains to establish his own woodworking studio. There on Bent Mountain, in a barn surrounded by apple orchards, he creates his own unique style of furniture and sculpture, including his popular three-dimensional puzzle animals. He has developed a unique technique of cutting a single piece of wood into a three-dimensional interlocking puzzle. The result is an animal that articulates and moves like the creature it represents. Peter's puzzles have been featured on television and in many magazines and newspapers. He has also received numerous awards for his original, copyrighted designs.
Peter is a member of the Southern Highlands Handcrafts Guild, The Virginia Mountain Crafts Guild, and The International Wood Collectors Society.
When I moved back to Montana after 30 years away, I started exploring the idea that land can represent time and memory, and my work became about the concept of ‘home’. Having moved around so much in my childhood, it’s an idea that has always been illusive to me. I feel a strong sense of belonging here, partially because of my family’s history, and also due to sense memories from my childhood, especially of my family's ranch on Red Lodge Creek. The land there is scattered with old farm equipment, sheds, animal bones, homestead cabins and other abandoned and decaying relics. My skulls, many of which were collected there, pay tribute to that place, while celebrating the beauty and intricacy of bones. I'm interested in combining iconic 'western' imagery with symbolism that is part of my personal vocabulary, in order to elicit new meanings and associations.
In January, 2016 I had the opportunity to visit the J. Paul Getty Villa on the Malibu coast in Los Angeles, California. It is one of two locations of 44,000 Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities dating from 6500 BC to 400 AD including the large Landsdowne Hercules and the Victorious Youth. An amazing collection in a beautiful setting and free admission to boot!
I was drawn to the small bronze Greek figures, no more than 4 to 5 inches tall, that were placed in the tombs to help out in the afterlife: a warrior, a farmer, an entertainer maybe. It made me think about what I would take to the afterlife and immediately dancers appeared and I began working in clay to produce these figures. The one figure standing still is the proud and elegant Elizabeth ready to step forward and dance. To me they represent the joy in life.
I have developed an appreciation for the beauty found in simple landscapes; the beauty I see as we drive from Minnesota to the west, or just around the corner. It's these cherished sights: grain fields at harvest, the plains and mountains of Montana, or sitting on the dock at our Minnesota home and seeing the beauty that exists in these "everyday" vistas. I believe in the healing and energizing qualities of nature. In Minnesota, I sit on the dock and experience quiet, joy and peace. My work takes me to these places as I interpret them in fiber.
The horizontal format, the soft colors of sunlight on land and water at different times of the day, enhance the quiet effect in much of my work. I use fabrics and fibers to create these scenes: wool, silk, roving wool, cotton and synthetic fibers. They are needle-felted, fused and stitched. I enjoy the tactile quality of fibers and also the element of surprise when using them. Who could predict that needle-felted organza shreds to create the illusion of glistening water, or that a frayed edge of fabric resembles a tree line in the far distance? It is a challenge for me to use fabric and fiber to create these landscapes, but it is this serendipitous quality that I enjoy most.
My art career has taken a path that began with a Bachelor of Science degree in Art from Bemidji State University in Minnesota. I have also earned a Master's degree in Art Education from Minnesota State University. After teaching art to middle schoolers for 32 years, and a short stint in the graphic design field (which included working on fabric designs for the quilting industry,) I am now able to pursue my own art. I get to Bozeman frequently, as our son and his family live there and we all love the area.
All pieces are in custom made frames and under non-glare acrylic with UV protection.
Created in the Rocky Mountains of western Montana, Toby Mercer’s art is sought by those with discerning taste all over the world.
After working for a decade in paint media, photography, ceramics, and jewelry, Toby created his own original 3 dimensional medium, the Stratagraphic. Paper Stratagraphics are original works using layers of cotton rag museum boards that are designed, cut, painted, and stacked entirely by hand in a process that carefully engineers the image one layer at a time, using only visualization and simple hand tools to create the finished work.
The concentration required is a lengthy meditation. These works exhibit a visual shift with a change in lighting direction or intensity, and/or with a change of viewpoint, giving them a kinetic, or living form.
Toby’s purpose in his artistic expression lies within the single accomplishment of evoking personal response within a beholder, knowing that within that response lies the opportunity of a heightened experience, increasing the potential for personal observation, growth, and joy.
Toby’s inspirations for visual and musical artistic expression are found in active attentions focused on noticing the living experience sensually, psychically, and intellectually and relating those observations in images and melodic expression that seek to capture the beholder’s attention and elicit some personal response therein.
The effort in creating a piece is an effort of love and awareness, truly individual and dramatic, affording an individual presence to every completed work.
As of August 2014, 1277 original Paper Stratagraphic works completed, are found in corporate, public, and private collections worldwide. Nearly four decades of artistic endeavor have perfected Toby’s ability to share his perception of awareness, based in wonder and rooted in emotion.
Jim Mullan is a self-taught artist who grew up in Southern California with an enthusiasm for nature and history. As a teenager he became intrigued with old watches, vintage toys, and scientific instruments. In the process of taking things apart and putting them back together, he began pairing some of the old pieces with his favorite things found in nature, such as, bird, dragonfly and animal components to create one of a kind mixed media jewelry and assemblages. In 1980, Jim exhibited at his first art show in Florida and enjoyed it so much that he decided to set up shop in Pompano Beach. Shortly thereafter he began exhibiting full time in juried art shows across the country.
Tori’s passion for antiques and jewelry began as a child. Her inspiration was her father, a jeweler and antique watch collector. While working in his jewelry store in Port Charlotte, Florida, she became interested in the vintage stones and spare parts that her father used for repairing jewelry and watches. She set her sights on designing jewelry and started creating unique one of a kind earrings and bracelets. She met Jim in 1985 at a show and they soon discovered that they shared many of the same interests in old watches, jewelry and antiques.
The couple combined their individual talents and formed a partnership in work and in life. They are now married, dividing their time between their house in Florida and their cottage in Pennsylvania, along with their dog and three cats. Their fascination of birds, nature, and antiques is still present today and their vast collection of vintage hardware, bird carvings and watches fill up a 3300 square foot studio in Pompano Beach, Florida. Tori and Jim’s collections of jewelry, boxes, mirrors and bird sculptures can be found in over 1000 galleries, museum stores and specialty stores worldwide.
Woodworking and particularly wood turning have been my passion for over forty years. I especially like to work with native woods of Montana. Being trained as an industrial arts instructor has given me a wonderful appreciation for the beauty of different woods. After retiring from the Montana State University Extension Service a number of years ago, I have been able to devote more time to my avocation of wood turning.
I find it thrilling to work with an aspen tree that a beaver has fallen. The beaver has even removed the bark for me to speed up the drying process. Making a bowl or vase from a tree removed from a friend’s yard and then giving that turning to the friend also is very satisfying.