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.
My abstract work came from my very first experience casting in Bronze. My college professor wanted a hollow form to use in demonstrating the lost wax process. I worked from my memory sculpting parts and pieces of the horses that I grew-up around and put them together to make a hollow form. Come to find out, the process was not a traditional means of bronze sculpture. My naivety had allowed me the freedom to simply create without rules.
After years of sculpting the figure in the classic style I returned to stylized work for the joy that it allows. I enjoy the energy, movement, and whimsical nature that these pieces achieve. They allow the personalities of the horses and other animals that I sculpt to come alive! I am mostly concerned with the overall compositions of these works. I strive to make both positive and negative spaces interesting from all vantage points. The silhouettes of each piece, when back lit, make a remarkable impression. The details in the patinas and natural stone bases create a beautiful and natural coloration when they are lit from above. A third view of the work, lit from the front, gives striking shadows that dance against the wall and create an even deeper movement.
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.
Jim Rosenau was raised in a house with 5,000 books. He has been making and selling thematic furniture from vintage books since 2002. The idea occurred to him years earlier after reading an essay, “Books As Furniture,” by Nicholson Baker. Given his background as the son and grandson of publishers, he assumed the reaction, should he make such a thing, would be furious. The work, once underway, proved him wrong. His book furniture has since earned him a wide following with work sold in almost 50 states and countries. Primarily shown at closely juried shows, he is also represented by dealers from Vermont to Los Angeles. The work has been widely published in print and on the Internet. Previously, he has been a carpenter, comedy writer (with Charlie Varon), editor, software developer, planning commissioner and designed and built parade floats. His writing has been published in Fine Homebuilding, The New Yorker, ReadyMade, Salon.com and heard on public radio. He lives and works in Berkeley, California.
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.