More than 20 years ago, G. Sanford McGee went looking for a piece of copper he’d stowed a few years earlier on the edge of his yard while working on building his off-grid home near Sewanee, Tenn. McGee, a science teacher and artist, was finally ready to begin the copper-faced architectural frieze he had planned for his new home. After locating the copper panel and pulling away the layers of plants and leaves, McGee noticed the added layers of patina to the copper, colors and forms telling the story of the particular plants it had touched. McGee, with his artist’s eye and deep knowledge of the plants of his native Cumberland Plateau, recognized the possibility of an artistic collaboration with nature.
In the years since, McGee has continued the dialogue between his art and nature. His works have been exhibited across Europe and the U.S. and can currently be found in the SAS Gallery, along with another artistic collaboration: Annie Hanks Ceramics Studio of Chattanooga, Tenn., the joint project of Stephanie Anne Martin and Katherine Hanks.
Their sculptural works combine a contemporary aesthetic with timelessly simple forms. Matte finishes and pale neutral colors add to the elemental character of their porcelain and stoneware.
Hanks, a Texas native with a lifelong affinity for the natural world, recognizes the influence of her native country landscape on her work. Meanwhile, Stephanie Martin’s connection to clay is more inwardly-focused; she describes her ceramic work as a manifestation of internal growth into tangible form.
In the five years since its founding, the studio has flourished, with its work featured in Scenic City Supper Club and Wildflower Tea Shop in Chattanooga, as well as the Hunter Museum of Art’s popular Examinations project.
There will be a public reception for Annie Hanks Ceramics and G. Sanford McGee’s works on copper on Saturday, Feb. 9, from 4-6 p.m. Contact Gallery Director Julie Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.