Gabe Babcock & Roberta Monte James
September 21 – October 28, 2023
Reception: Thursday, September 21, 2023, 5:30 – 7:00 PM
Nature is vulnerable and fragile, yet also unyielding and perdurable. The Dualities exhibit highlights these two extremes in a way that also connects them. Both the individual pieces and the paired exhibits have been created with a sentimentality that reveres our forested landscapes, riparian environments, and natural resources. The clean lines and natural curves in all of the pieces are strikingly similar, and speak to each other in unexpected ways. The artists hope to engage viewers to see the dualities in this exhibit from a third point of view, giving them a personal connection to their work.
Ceramic, stone and wood project a feeling of permanence, while cotton, silk and other such fibers are fragile by comparison. The artists present their work in a way that encourages the viewer to see how one extreme resonates with the beauty and value of the other, and collectively present two distinct perspectives for looking our natural environment. Both artists live in rural areas of Northern California and Oregon. They draw upon their surroundings for inspiration.
Gabe Babcock primarily uses found materials, exploring and testing their spatial boundaries, creating works of art that are grounded in the natural world. He has a studio in both the Willamette and Sacramento Valleys. Roberta Monte James is a fiber artist who uses piecework to abstract her vision and sensibility of her subjects. Her work is often inspired by an aspect of nature or a specific geographical area, and the environmental realities that are affecting them.
Sculptor and ceramicist Gabe Babcock uses found stone, recycled wood and clay as his primary media. He artfully breaks down his pieces to their simplest elements so the viewer is not distracted from the essence of the material. He does site specific public art and private commissions as well as gallery exhibits. He has done solo exhibitions on the West Coast as well as exhibited in National Juried exhibitions throughout the US. His most recent project was repurposing an old redwood barn to become what is now known as Salmon Bend Art Studios in Colusa, California. The space houses Babcock’s California work studio and show room, and is designed to give local emerging artists a venue to have solo shows to gain the experience and see their work in a professional setting. He now lives in Philomath, Oregon.
Roberta Monte James is a fiber artist and quiltmaker/designer. Her work is often informed by her surroundings, attempting to abstract the simplicity, beauty and vulnerability of nature. She works in collage format by piecing fabric, and then overlaying her designs with stitching to complement the theme. She is largely self-taught, but has studied with artists Lisa Call, Sheila Frampton Cooper, and Jean Wells. James was raised in the rural areas of Napa Valley where she has strong ties and deep roots. Her home studio is in heart of rice country in the Sacramento Valley. She is one of the founding members of the Salmon Bend Art Collective in Northern California. One of her pieces in this show,California Japonica, is currently being featured in “Fiber Art Now” magazine.