Galleries : A Family Affair At Old Sculpin : Rose Treat, Steve Lohman
Seaweed magician, Rose Treat, and her nephew, metal sculptor Steve Lohman, are sharing space at The Old Sculpin Gallery in Edgartown through September 13. Although the two artists work in entirely different mediums - Ms. Treat draws with seaweed, Mr. Lohman with wire - each one's art sheds light on the innovative ways line can express meaning.
Ms. Treat, an Oak Bluffs resident who will turn 100 at the end of this year, has built an artistic career through creating collages out of seaweed. By using special paper and harvesting seaweed at the optimum time for it to retain its color, she has found a way to preserve the material and make her work permanent.
Since all the seaweed she uses has a similar greenish-brown shade, the impact of her collages depends more on manipulation of line, form and shape than color.
A West Tisbury resident, Mr. Lohman has 12 of his smaller black wire works on display, as well as several photos of his larger wire sculptures. Like his aunt, he has chosen to apply draftsman-like techniques in an unconventional medium.
Ms. Treat's 11 playful and lively collages range from an elegant, single line of seaweed that becomes "Heron" to the complex composition of "Hasidic Wedding."
Most, but not all, of the Treat collages on display are figurative. "Man's Best Friend" is the portrait of a wispy-haired, bright-eyed and shiny-nosed dog. In "Three Dancers" and "Dancers with Hair,"Ms. Treat transforms seaweed filaments into delightfully antic figures.
The collagist moves away from the conventionally representational in "Cocadoodledoo." The seaweed figure in this work seems part rooster and part seal. In "Sea Weed," Ms. Treat turns a long, narrow tangle of marine vegetable matter into an abstract collage so delicate it could be a pen and ink drawing.
Much of the fun of Ms. Treat's work is seeing how she explores the potential of her unusual medium. In "Heron," the bird represented extends its seaweed leg beyond the paper on which it is mounted, reminding the viewer of the unusual material.
The artist achieves a three-dimensional effect in "Listening," where the curved forms of wavy seaweed strands rise off the paper in some places and suggest the figure of a woman.
Ms. Treat's work is included in the permanent collections of the Marine Biological Laboratory, The Martha's Vineyard Museum and Harvard University. Her collages are also part of the Ocean Planet Exhibition at the Smithsonian Institutions in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Lohman's emphasis is on the human figure in daily life, and he doesn't venture far from representational concepts. His "wire sketches" employ a continuous line of steel wire to create the athlete in "Skateboarder" and musicians in "Jazz Duet." A curving lock of hair in "Cellist" demonstrates the playfulness of his work. The dramatic sweep of the grand piano top in "Piano Man" helps create the work's dramatic impact.
In "Walking the Dog," the push-pull of a dog straining against the long line of a leash while his master bends backwards, illustrates the animation this sculptor can infuse into his work. A series of women -- one seated on a stool in "Nude no.14," another reclining on her elbow in "Nude no.12" -- capture the human figure in a variety of poses.
Mr. Lohman's work has been exhibited in Key West, FL, New York City and San Diego, CA, as well as on Martha's Vineyard. His commission, "The Balance Beam," is at Boston Children's Hospital in Waltham.
The Old Sculpin Gallery in Edgartown remains open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am-9 pm, Sunday, 12 noon to 9:30 pm until mid-September. 508-627-4881.