SecondRiverStudio
Round River Series  View Gallery

© Copyright Second River Studio The work in this series was made in early 2003 and then displayed at Touchstone Gallery in Washington, DC from Sept. 10-Oct.5. At the time I was meditating on theRound River of life that we live in. This term was first coined by 19th century storytellers spinning tales about Paul Bunyan, a giant lumberjack and his blue ox Babe who were given credit for carving up lakes and rivers while logging north woods forests.

Bunyan served as a symbol for the country at large, which was, and still is, intent on bending the will of nature to its own purposes by brute force. More recently Aldo Leopold recognized that the whole north woods area is a Round River whose current is the stream of energy that flows out of soil, air, and water into plants, then into animals, and then back into the soil in a continuous supportive circuit of life.

My work is a visual exploration based on essential bonds and precarious links between Earth, nature and humans all flowing along together in this current called Round River. I piece together a language of shapes, images, and found objects into collages, sculpture and paintings. Each individual element in the collages retains its own identity, history and implications, at once contributory to and independent of the collage as a whole, thereby enriching the layered surface of the artwork with multiple layers of meaning. (36 unframed 11 x 11 ½ collages forming Nature Way of the Cross installation, 5 framed River Runs Through Me mixed media paintings on paper 18 x 24, 8 mixed media works 22 x 22 framed, and 6 sculptures.)

Seen/Unseen Monotypes 2012  View Gallery

© Copyright Second River Studio This is a collection of 9 x 12 inch monotypes inspired by pastoral landscapes in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Oregon. Each composition focuses on the primary shapes within any given scene, describing the essence of the place in black, white and shades of gray.

Each image is unique, one of one, and printed with oil based ink on BFK Reeves white cotton rag paper 15 x 22. All images can be viewed at Second River Studio by calling 703-791-3615

Altered Terrain (22 x 30 drawings)  View Gallery

© Copyright Second River Studio The road of life has taken me from the volcanic deserts and farms of southern Idaho, through the rolling Kansas hills, into the northern Virginia suburbs where hardwood forests and small farms compete with shopping malls, homes and superhighways.

Once my paintings were about wild landscapes whose pristine beauty stopped me in my tracks. As I observed the land changing radically over the years, I began to draw and sculpt a different scene. Everywhere I see connections between an altered terrain and the often absent people who transform it.

Inspiration also comes from 17th century Dutch paintings of wealthy sea merchants (profiled largely above the horizon line), surrealists, and the figures of Italian artist Arcimboldo (1526-1593) composed of fruits and vegetables, the very foods that sustain humankind.

Likewise my drawings and collages are metaphors for American culture and commerce. Figures dominate some drawings and hide within others, becoming a composite of the world around me, and revealing associations that a viewer might not have seen before. I pair nooses with mega-coal-mining equipment, cross grave markers with a parking lot, and rubber duckies with live ducks.

Nature House  View Gallery

© Copyright Second River Studio I am sustained by the natural world,
It inspires my work and teaches me:

that everything and everyone are connected in a wonderful web of life
that all things in the physical world originate in the spiritual world
that these two worlds are closely entwined
that the current of energy flowing out of Earth’s soil, air, and water
sustains the circular stream of life as it passes through all beings.

Most works include at least one bird.
Some images also reflect my concern about humanity’s unceasing destruction
of the river of life that supports our own.

The ink, watercolor and collage pictures reveal a reality that goes beyond the
usual world we perceive,
because of the atypical juxtapositions of elements within each composition.
Altars and animals, for instance, or a tree made from a little book.
The fun is in trying out unusual combinations of forms
and solving the mysteries of the links between them.
The sculptural birds are invented species.
They grew out of odd fragments and wood.
The tables on which they stand are puzzles that I fit together from wood scraps.

This Land-Our Land  View Gallery

© Copyright Second River Studio Rosemary Luckett juxtaposes sculpture and mixed media drawings in her solo show “This Land, Our Land,” a lively interplay between 2-D and 3-D expression. Continuing with themes from recent Nature House collages, she pairs the unexpected: light bulbs with bones, forks with purses, and Christmas lights with asthma inhalers. Each piece is built around a single real or symbolic object or group of items that seem unrelated to each other. The fun for her is in trying out unusual combinations of forms and solving the mysteries of the links between them. Finely honed technique and a strong concern for the environment pair up with a personality characterized by a questioning bent and a sense of humor to form these surreal landscapes; stories of the American landscape and our connections to it.

Sculpture Gallery  View Gallery

© Copyright Second River Studio Series of sculptures made of scraps of wood, metal, bone, fur and plastic. My goal was to show the impact of humankind upon the land, so I limited myself to materials which lent themselves to that idea.

Altered Terrain (11 x 11 collages)  View Gallery

© Copyright Second River Studio Inspiration for this work comes from the changing landscape around me and from surreal paintings of Rene Magritte and Frida Kahlo. My drawings and collages are metaphors for American culture and commerce. The elements I put together in a composition reveal associations that a viewer might not have thought of before. I pair baby pacifiers with an elephant, forks with the earth, and rubber duckies with live ducks or frogs.

Altered terrain Sculptures  View Gallery

© Copyright Second River Studio Sculptures in the exhibit reflect the effect of humans upon the land and its wild creatures. They are made from cast off detritus: wood, metal, glass, plastic and remains of animals: fur, bone, feathers.

Textures, aging patinas and tool shapes recall a landscape that has come and gone. Remaining for centuries, however, will be the bits of plastic. They are truly archival and unable to decompose into recyclable elements.

Seen/Unseen 3-D 2012  View Gallery

© Copyright Second River Studio Like Magritte, who paints "the apparent visible and the hidden visible--which, in nature are never separated," my work points to the invisible hiding within the visible landscape. The fun in looking at these works is to discover both. At first a rounded hill may seem a straightforward familiar form, but subtleties generated by ink absorption into the paper suggests other connotations. If observed closely, a dark hill interacting with mist or sky hints at ephemeral otherworld moments experienced in early morning or evening light. Seemingly simple swaths of sagebrush allude to the hidden grouse, hot dry winds, or ancient Native American medicine. A book of poetry points to these suggested scenes, which I refers to as "the perpetual radiance of the world." Some works encompass three dimensional space, while others deny it, are more abstract, and focus on texture and rich shades of black within landscape forms.

Earth Blankets  View Gallery

© Copyright Second River Studio Earth Blankets collage photos & cloth The artworks in Earth blankets were initially inspired by my observation of the constant buildup of trash along the side of the road—plastic bags snagged on trees and fences, not decomposing, but forming a cumulative blanket upon the land.

Finally one day I parked the car near my home and started photographing trash thrown from vehicles. I took over 100 photos in just about as many steps.

After printing the photos and laying them on the floor, they looked like blocks of a quilt—a photo blanket reflecting the discarded plastic blankets that are becoming more pronounced each year. Plastics are blankets because they don’t decompose like leaves or paper produces but continue to build up layer by layer. Some wash down into streams, eventually forming a huge vortex of garbage in both the Atlantic and the Pacific, or wash up onto the world’s beaches in astounding numbers.

Some of my photos are printed on archival papers using pigment inks, then framed in a conventional manner. These include collaged composites of concrete and asphalt “covers.” Other collage photos pair industrial blankets, plastic toys, and harvested trees with animal and plant arks. They were prompted in part, by Arthur Tress’s Fish Tank Sonata photo series and Donovan Hohn’s bestseller Moby-Duck, The True Story of 28,800 Bath toys Lost at Sea.

The collage process is a digital one (except for the sewing part), but no less laborious than cutting out paper elements with scissors and pasting them into a composition.

I made four large cloth works by printing photos onto real fabric, where they become actual blankets or covers. Trash Blanket II and Electric Blanket could be taken off the wall and used on bed or sofa. Tree Cover and Oil Legacy are composed of recycled polyester cloth pockets holding photo prints on paper and stay within the realm of the nonfunctional. Tree cover includes poems I wrote printed over leaves in the manner of the Cumaen Sibyl (Vergil’s AEnid) who wrote her prophesies on oak leaves.

Earth House: Nature's Dream & Us  View Gallery

© Copyright Second River Studio In her 2016 solo exhibition, Earth House, Rosemary Luckett shifts her topical focus from human formed earth blankets to living organisms—beings who readied the world for humankind and who continue to support human lives now. To describe the nature portion of the human-biosphere story, she concentrates on mixed media collage, followed by a book of poems inspired by each image.

“I’ve become more appreciative of how complex biosystems are, and the delicate relationships between other life forms and us,” she states. “In this series of collage artworks I pay attention to divine articulations of the Natural World by meditating on living things, air, soil, and water.” Luckett cuts, pastes, paints, and writes poetry, while exploring a few of the myriad life forms that beckon to her. She comes to the conclusion that each life form, though veiled, is but a mask of The Great Face Behind, a Mysterious Dreaming Creator.

Some of her images are obvious masks, while others vary in composition. Mixed materials include recycled bubble wrap, cloth, and plastic netting along with papers and photographs. Luckett is inspired not only by the world of living organisms and materials, but also by Northwest Coast Indian transformation masks and Southwestern retablos. Some of her works are framed in wood shrines to emphasize their iconic nature. The framework around her thinking was built in part by writer Loren Eisely as she pondered the impressive achievement and adaptive competence of living creatures who preceded humans, begetting more diverse and complex forms over 3.5 billion years on a fiercely wild and often inhospitable planet.

Artwork and Designs © Copyright 2017 Second River Studio.
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