Potters Ted Reeder and Roger Harvey, woodturner Jim Roche, and painters Marie Miller and Victoria Pearmain all share “Natural Instincts” about their artwork. Creating with nature’s bountiful resources of clay and wood or representing scenes of natural beauty, these five talented artists are presenting a collection of their new work during the month of December.
Reeder designs his porcelain pots to be ergonomically useful with a high degree of functionality. As a cook he personally field-tests each piece. His skill as a sculptor influences their aesthetic shapes, reflecting the curves found in nature.
Developing his own glazes and firing schedules gives him control over the colors he produces. Reeder’s 30 years as a dentist explain the precision with which he forms each piece and accurately fits the lids to intricately shaped vessels.
“I seek peace, harmony, and serenity in my life, and I hope those qualities are conveyed to the observer through my art,” he said.
Harvey has an extensive background in jewelry making and pottery, but the latter became an all-consuming passion. He acquired college degrees in art, taught courses, wrote a book on building pottery equipment, founded an arts center, opened his own gallery, toured the seasonal shows, exploring all aspects of the business and finally settled into his own studio on Lookout Mountain.
“My pots are thrown on a potter’s wheel but many of them are distorted while on the wheel or when partially dry,” he said.
“I became interested in salt glazing in college and used the process when I was a potter on Cape Cod. I am continuing the technique in my new endeavors because the glazing is so integrated with the making of the pot. The pots are high fired and then salt is thrown into the kiln while at the highest temperature.”
Harvey also does much of the decoration on the wheel or before the clay dries with colored clays called slips. Conventional glazes are applied after the first firing.
Roche began working in a cabinet shop in the 1970s in Florida. He later learned to perform the same milling operations by hand, which led to his love of working with wood. It became an art form after he spent 14 months building an authentic model of the schooner America after he had the privilege of meeting the captain and going aboard for a sail on that ship, an inspirational experience for him. Since then Roche has made decorative pieces with figured woods, and his primary focus is on turned wood, including segmented pieces.
“I enjoy making deep hollow forms where the challenge is to produce a clean, smooth finish inside the vessel where conventional finishing techniques cannot be used,” Roche said.
“My goal is to incorporate the natural beauty of wood being used into a complementary form that is pleasing to the senses.”
Popular and practical items that Roche creates are pens with the barrel of hand-turned exotic wood finished with hardware plated with precious metals such as sterling silver, rhodium and platinum. Roche also uses black and gold titanium for extreme durability.
Miller, a former member of In-Town Gallery in the 1990s, uses her distinctive oils and watercolors which capture light through color on canvas and paper, which hang in various private and corporate collections throughout the United States.
Although her subject matter reflects her life and travel experience, she prefers to paint primarily on location. Fast and sure with color, value and temperature, she is a delight to watch working.
A graduate of the University of North Carolina, her award-winning works have been exhibited in major Tennessee cities.
Miller produces dramatic and luminous works by pushing color further than it is normally perceived. Loose brushwork depicts her subject matter through gesture. The final painting cannot satisfy a viewer with just one look — the eye must return again and again to linger and review color juxtapositions.
“Wherever I am and no matter what I am doing, my mind is focused on color analysis and how it is affected by light, shape and shadow,” Miller said. “It is my secret obsession, a delightful way to engage an idle part of my brain.”
Pearmain was an In-Town Gallery member from 2002 to 2004 and served on the executive board. Primarily a plein-air (a French expression meaning “in the open air”) painter, she portrays the landscape and architecture in small-scaled works.
They capture the essence and character of a particular location. Rough fields, dirt roads, hidden pastures and remnants of industrial America where nature has reclaimed the land are favorite subjects. Oil on gessoed watercolor paper and oil on canvas are her preferred materials.
Pearmain stated, “My paintings combine plein-air and studio work to create a sense of place. In the field my interest is in the immediacy of color, light, and the momentary feeling of the location. In the studio the work is often a reduction of elements to find what is most important to me about the scene.”
Pearmain returns to New England annually and exhibits her paintings in Cape Cod. Galleries in Tennessee and Alabama also carry her work. She received her BFA at the Massachusetts College of Art in 1988, and also studied at the DeCordova Museum School and the Studio Arts International in Florence, Italy.
The public is invited to meet them and discuss their specialties at the opening reception on Dec. 2, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the gallery.
In-Town Gallery is located at 26A Frazier Ave., between the Walnut Street and Market Street bridges, adjacent to Coolidge Park on the trendy ‘Hip to Historical’ North Shore of the Tennessee River.
The gallery is open seven days a week year-round. For more information, call 267-9214, or visit www.intowngallery.com or www.facebook.com.intowngallery.