A New Reality at the Artisan’s Enterprise Center

December 15th, 2011  |  Published in December 2011, On View  |  1 Comment

Untitled #24 (Box Series), 2011, mixed media collage. 11 3/4" x 6 1/4"

With all of the excess stuff floating around, most specifically in North America, it is hopeful to know that some artists are not letting everything go to waste. A New Reality at the Artisan’s Enterprise Center Gallery features 3 artists who are crafting superb works of art from what most people would end up throwing away. Robert Fry, Jennifer Grote, and Michael Scheurer have a mixed batch of mediums but one thing is clear: don’t count on catching them at any art supply shop.

Upon entering the gallery I was first struck by a number of Robert Fry’s large scale wooden sculptures. I was told that most, if not, all of the wood used for his works has been salvaged, but given the precision evident in his pieces there would be no way I would never have discovered this out on my own. Most of Fry’s pieces seem to be reaching for the sky, and although there is a clear emphasis on the vertical it doesn’t seem to make them appear any less sturdy. To state that his sculptures have a pressence in the room would be a definite understatment. The size alone of One Step at a Time would be enough to attract any viewer. Here the artist seems to be demonstrating a ladder with an impossible number rungs shooting headlong towards the ceiling. What attracted me most about this piece, and most of Fry’s work for that matter, were the simplicity and balance clearly under his command.

In close proximity I found the work of Jennifer Grote to be best descibed as multidimensional and economic. Again most of the work presented seemed to be gathered rather than purchased. She uses everything ranging from wood, metal, porcelain and, my personal favorite, deconstructed piano parts. In Homage to #43661, Grote uses a plethora of piano hammers and strings to construct a large scale wall-hung piece that begged to be not only viewed but touched. What is most evident in her work is both her knack for spacial relationships, and the ability to let the medium speak for itself. As an artist myself I can attest that simply letting a medium ‘be itself’ is more difficult than it seems; she pulls it off beautifully.

Navigating further into the gallery I was confronted by an entire hallway of shadowbox collage pieces by Michael Scheurer. Having previously written about Scheurer’s 2D work I was delighted to see that he had moved successfully into the world of 3D. Each of works displayed were quite small but nonetheless effective in their placement and engagement. His collages combine the raw Dada-esque cut and paste motif with a sense of intelligent refinement. I found myself drawn to his more subtle pieces such as Untitled #24 (Box Series). Here the artist appears to be flirting with the idea of a mixed media cross-cultural portrait. Once again, we are witnessing an artist who is simply using what is already out there as far as a workable medium.

The extent idea of recycling for their works’ materials and conceptions impress me after viewing this show, and I certainly hope any would-be artists would take note of their efforts especially with the way things are going in our ‘ending is better than mending’ society.

— Dustin Pike


  1. Kathleen Piercefield says:

    December 15th, 2011at 9:52 pm(#)

    Really nice article, Dustin! Makes me want more than ever to get up there and see this show before it ends.