In our summer exhibition, we've chosen Isabelle Coppinger and Carlyle Wolfe--two women artists who complement each other well with their botanical subject matter. Coppinger meticulously crafts flower and leaf forms from porcelain. She carves the leaves freehand and then builds the flower pods from multiple slabs of clay. Each almond-shaped flower is unique in its intricate surface detail. Finally, component parts of the sculpture--left unglazed with their matte white texture--are installed three-dimensionally on the wall with rods of different lengths. The soft shadows of her work are as much a part of the installation as the porcelain, and the resulting wall sculpture is illusionistic in its combination of positive and negative space.
In contrast, Carlyle Wolfe's paintings use a two-dimensional plane to create the illusion of spatial depth. Wolfe studies the natural world according to season and time of day. Each painting captures the seasonal plants and color palette of a specific time. Beginning with color swatches, the artist plans the overall color scheme before she gets started on her composition. For instance, dawn, high noon, and dusk all have different spectra that affect the outcome of her painting. Once she settles on a palette, she sifts through her collection of hundreds of hand-drawn stencils to determine which flora should be featured during that season. Oil paint is then brushed on in an underpainting, or sprayed over stencils to create the harmony and dimension of a complete work. Her process is a time-intensive, layered approach that allows her to experiment with veils of color and form.