Tobler and McGee Exhibit "Old, New, and Together"

A reception to celebrate works on copper by Sanford McGee and works of clay by Merissa Tobler will be held this Friday, July 5, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Shenanigan's Gallery. The public is invited to attend.

Merissa's stoneware forms are designed to be used in the home primarily for preparing and serving food. The show includes several of the pieces which she has been making for some time, including mugs, bowls and platters. New are slab-constructed baking dishes called baking boats because their shape is reminiscent of row boats. These pieces function well, but they are not what one would expect in a baking dish. The bakers are finished in an array of colors that are intended to show off food to its best advantage.

Recently she has been working with vase forms, making vases that can be successfully used by people who feel they can't arrange flowers very well. When flowers are placed in her envelope vases, they tend to fan out creating a natural look without requiring a great deal of arrangement. May of these vases are finished in a metallic black glaze. Colorful flowers look beautiful when contrasted with this glaze.

McGee's work stems from a lifelong interest in nature and art. Eighteen years of teaching biology, studies with masters of clay and metal, combined with an ongoing sculptural experience of building an "off the grid" home have led him to the current works on copper. Initially created as a frieze for the exterior of his home, the work has evolved into pieces adaptable for all aspects of the home environment and garden. Interested in finding a way of bringing some degree of permanency to the experience of a foray or field trip into places which are special to him, McGee came upon a chemical process of etching botanicals collected onto the copper. The resulting images provide an intimate representation of exploration of nature and a sense of place. This show is part of an exhibition of McGee's titled, "Southeast Southwest, Two Places Homes, One Mind," which begins in Sewanee and ends in Santa Fe, N.M., where he will exhibit July 26-Aug. 31 at Tropic of Capricorn Gallery. McGee sends an invitation to all.

The artists began their working relationship over 20 years ago when McGee asked Tobler to "teach him to work with clay." This show is the first time these two artists have joined forces for some collaborative pieces. Their works done together are small, reflective pools which could be used to float flowers, candles or other objects for aesthetic and meditative enjoyment.