‘Earth, Wood and Fire’ on Display at Stifel

“Earth, Wood and Fire,” an exhibition featuring professional artists working in wood, clay and stone, opens Thursday, March 1, at Oglebay Institute’s Stifel Fine Arts Center in Wheeling with a free, public reception from 6:30-8:30 p.m. It remains on display through April 20.

The exhibit features excellent craftsmanship combined with compelling ideas that explore each artist’s connection to the natural world. Artwork from nine featured and guest artists will be on display along with work from 23 artists whose pieces were juried into the show.

“Earth, Wood and Fire” is part of Oglebay Institute’s changing art exhibition season, which is sponsored by United Bank, and supports the Institute’s mission to bring prestigious artwork from around the nation into our community as well as showcase work from outstanding local artists.

Among the featured artists are Michael Peterson– a Washington state artist whose poetic stone and wood sculptures are heavily inspired by the geographic environment of the Pacific Northwest; artist and former biomedical researcher Mark Henry Doolittle who uses gourds and exotic hardwoods from around the world to express the dynamic form of growth and symmetry encountered in cells and tissues; ceramic artist Joan Bontempo whose work addresses archetypes, defenders and prophets in ancient mythologies; stone carver Dan Kurland who works almost exclusively with hammer and chisel; Alison Helm– a sculptor who explores the connections or contrasts between art and science; ceramic artist Denise Romecki who draws inspiration from early botanical illustrations of the 16th and 17th centuries; stone sculptor and ceramic artist Kevin Stitzinger whose background in environmental science and geology inspires him to explore the forces that shape rocks and minerals and Robert Michael Bowen whose work is inspired by the industrial landscape of Huntington surrounded by the rich natural countryside.

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In addition to the featured artists, guest artist Joan Nugent will represent the Oglebay Woodcarvers Guild.

The exhibit also includes a juried competition open to artists working in wood, clay or stone. Monetary awards will be given to works selected by juror Renee Margocee, a West Virginia artist and arts industry leader who has held positions with the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, Tamarack Foundation for the Arts and others.

Juried artists include: Clark Adams, Laurie Armstrong, Beverly Burke, Betsy Cox, Susan Dorsch, James Haizlett, Cecile Harris, Cheryl Ryan Harshman, Joseph Hodorowski, Debbie Joseph, Robert Joseph, Maureen Joyce, Robert Martin, Bill McCormick, Danielle Moore, Rick Morgan, Billie Munn, Joseph Romanyak Sr., Martin Schnur, Rachel Shipley, Briana Taft, Tom Thomas and Philip Wiggs.

“Earth, Wood and Fire” is also part of the 2018 National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts Conference taking place March 14-17 in Pittsburgh.

“Earth, Wood and Fire” will be on display at Oglebay Institute’s Stifel Fine Arts Center through April 20 and can be viewed free of charge from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. Evening hours are dependent on classes and special events.

For more information, visit OIonline.com or call the Stifel Fine Arts Center at 304-242-7700.