‘Full Circle’ exhibit is worth coming around to see

Terry Maker is Boulder artist with fascinating works at Littleton Museum

Posted 7/10/18

Viewers at the opening of Terry Maker’s “Full Circle” exhibit (through Aug. 19 at the Littleton Museum) huddled in groups, fixated on Maker’s brightly colored, complex compositions, …

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‘Full Circle’ exhibit is worth coming around to see

Terry Maker is Boulder artist with fascinating works at Littleton Museum

Posted

Viewers at the opening of Terry Maker’s “Full Circle” exhibit (through Aug. 19 at the Littleton Museum) huddled in groups, fixated on Maker’s brightly colored, complex compositions, speculating … How did she do that? What am I seeing? What are those objects embedded in resin? Some are quickly recognizable, such as candy in the “Jawbreaker” series or pencils in “Pointless,” but the subtle color of shredded photographs in “Snapshot 1 and 2,” which greet the visitor upon arrival, are not so evident at first …

Maker, a prominent Boulder artist, says she “explores the process of art-making while addressing themes related to human desire and decay, death and resurrection, both mundane and sacred and mark making, both literal and figurative.

“By using a diverse range of commonplace, discarded, domestic objects as well as traditional art-making materials, I cast, compose and assemble sculptured forms that are subsequently cut, drilled, scraped or otherwise manipulated to reveal the `guts’ of the matter. Gleaning detritus for its dual identity creates a startling conclusion. What is commonplace and rough-hewn mulch becomes formally graceful.”

Her craftsmanship is truly astonishing as she has organized common objects of assorted sizes, textures and colors into (mostly) circular frames that lead the eye into the depths of a particular composition. “Eyerolling (Yellow),” 2017, and “Eyerolling (Red),” 2017, seem to lean toward Oriental design, I thought, but their labels say they are composed of “paper targets, collaged targets and vacuum-formed shaky eyes.”

A three-dimensional “Trigger,” 2018, a sort of starburst form, contains a “high density polyurethane foam and wood parts,” it says. The wood parts, on closer inspection, once were incorporated in guns. Stunning statement there, aiming in all directions …

For many of the 35 works in this show, Maker’s complicated process involved compacting, amalgamating the chosen items together, then slicing off a cross section which is polished and becomes an art piece, “providing the structure for new replicated cross sections.” These revealed surfaces present the viewer with a visual puzzle, which compels one to question accepted modes of art-making and confront this unique visual vocabulary.

But, one would hope the viewer can just enjoy the richness, texture, color and depth of Maker’s works, without getting too involved in how they are made. Visually engaging, each work offers a depth of color and texture that leads the eye to the next equally engaging circle!

To the left of the entrance are two groupings that are not to be missed: A set of works in oval frames, called “Kingdom,” rise perpendicular to the wall and really draw one to inspect closely. Hundreds of intricately made tiny objects, created with wood and resin, build a city — Who lives and works there? When? What’s the story? (Create a story? …) Across from “Kingdoms” is “Small Album Sides,” a series of older album covers — and the vinyl records they contained are shredded and packaged — nostalgic, perhaps, but … One more story for the viewer to concoct before departing!

Plan to spend some time with “Full Circle: Works by Terry Maker.”

Kevin Oehler, Littleton Museum curator of exhibits, not only planned an exhibit that highlights the imaginative works, but produced a handsome catalog that offers added insight into Maker’s life and work. “The circle becomes both a building block and a formalist end in itself. Viewers will begin to notice dozens of ways this geometric figure is put to task, and the wide spectrum of objects and effects it generates,” he writes.

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