Rosewood sculpture exhibit is all about local artists

Landon Crowell installs his sculpture for Rosewood Arts Centre’s current “HWD (height, width, depth) Sculpture Exhibition 2020.” CONTRIBUTED

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Credit: CONTRIBUTED

24 works can be seen at the gallery in person or online

Landon Crowell says it’s difficult to pinpoint the precise moment he became interested in art, but he’s guessing his early exposure to traditional crafts and “tinkering” taught him problem-solving and craftsmanship.

Add those skills to his innate talent and you’ll begin to appreciate why Crowell was selected as one of 24 area artists featured in Rosewood Arts Centre’s current “HWD (height, width, depth) Sculpture Exhibition 2020.” You’ll also see why Crowell’s sculpture — made of wood, metal and paint — is the First Place Recipient of the Virginia Krause Hess Award for Excellence in Sculpture.

Landon Crowell, You shimmed us up to remain true. Without you level has become very elusive, 2019. Wood, steel and paint. CONTRIBUTED

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Credit: CONTRIBUTED

This year’s exhibit, on view through Sept. 25, has a new twist. Instead of the traditional juried regional exhibition, it’s a local invitational show featuring work by those in the Miami Valley who’ve been involved with Rosewood over the years.

“After extending our spring exhibition due to the COVID-19 shutdown and staging two virtual shows, HWD is the first exhibition since April to have actual art,” explains gallery coordinator Paula Willmot Kraus. “We have been trying to make visiting Rosewood and the gallery safe, easy, and enjoyable. Having actual art to visit in the gallery feels so good for the soul, but for those who are still hesitant about venturing out, we have added virtual components.”

This year’s array of sculptures ranges from Willis Bing Davis’ headdress and Cynthia Bornhorst Winslow’s decorative vase to Jim Champion’s ceramic tile urban landscape placed inside a cast iron skillet.

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Sarah Hydell, The Making of a Predator, 2019. Ceramic and found materials. CONTRIBUTED

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Credit: CONTRIBUTED

You’ll recognize many of the names; these featured artists teach at our high schools and universities, work as professionals and technicians and create work that is seen at galleries, parks and libraries in our region, as well as in far off venues such as Mexico, Argentina and New Zealand.

In addition to Davis, Winslow, and Champion, HWD participating artists are Nicholaus Arnold, Patricia Boone, Matthew Burgy, Connie Campbell, Stefan Chinov, Bob Coates, Landon Crowell, John Dickinson, Deborah Dixon, Doug Harlow, Jon Barlow Hudson, Ron Hundt, Sarah Hydell, Ashley Jude Jonas, David Kenworthy, Jes McMillan, Glenda Miles, Peter Mitas, Emily Trick, Terry Welker and Donald Williams.

“With all of the art we find ourselves facing either our past, present or future selves,” says Kraus. “And we are reminded that we are doing this all together.”

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“All of my experiences in life seemed to give me the tools I need to make sculpture,” says Landon Crowell. CONTRIBUTED

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Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Meet Landon Crowell

“I was always building something when I was little,” says Crowell, who remembers digging huge hills in his backyard and building tiny houses out of mud and sticks. His art teacher, Terry Chamberlain at Dayton Christian High School, told him he had potential and suggested he explore art in college.

He became a fine arts major in metalsmithing, making small narrative sculptures and unique jewelry pieces and eventually obtained a degree in sculpture from Wright State University.

“All of my experiences in life seemed to give me the tools I need to make sculpture,” says Crowell, who, over the years, worked as a mountain guide, in factories, at ski resorts, as a roofer and taught high school in New Mexico. “It wasn’t until my time at Wright State and the professors there that I really started to see the world around me, think about what I was seeing and learn what it had to teach me about making art.”

For Crowell, a fine arts technician at Wright State, sculpture encompasses a lot more than creating figures out of clay and marble. “As with other arts disciplines, it’s allowing yourself to observe and really see our world ... the good, the bad and the ugly,” he explains. “Observing connections and parallels and attempting to understand them, then trying to translate them into a language you barely understand but feel most comfortable with.”

The inspiration for his award-winning piece in the Rosewood exhibit came from a family tragedy. "In 2018, my parents sold their house in New Mexico and decided to RV for a few years, " he says. “They stopped in Dayton to visit me and were headed to Florida. En route my father developed a blood clot in his intestine and our family had to make some tough decisions, like refusing any further treatment for him. It was a devastating loss. I fell into a horrible depression.”

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The sculpture he created, he says, came from all of his inner turmoil and dialogue. "When a loved one leaves us we can crumble to pieces at any moment, but then you realize how that person taught you to be strong and pick up the pieces. The name of his sculpture: “You shimmed us up to remain true. Without you level has become very elusive.”

Says Crowell: “The sculpture only stays together and level with the friction of the shims holding all of the pieces tight and in place.”

Nicholaus Arnold's “One Giant Leap.” It is a 1:1 scale print of a Mercury Atlas rocket, the same kind that took John Glenn into orbit. CONTRIBUTED

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Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Space travel

Sculptor Nicholaus Arnold has a clever piece in the exhibit titled “One Giant Leap.”

“It’s a 1:1 scale print of a Mercury Atlas rocket, the same kind that took John Glenn into orbit,” says Arnold, a Colonel White High School grad who studied at Sinclair Community College, Wright State and Syracuse universities. "I’ve been working a lot with themes of space travel and I usually have a lot of humor in my work. What I thought would be really interesting would be to attempt to make a full-size rocket inside of a gallery, which is next to impossible.

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“The next best thing that I could accomplish would be to make a life-size print instead, even though this is still too large for most galleries. In the end I realized that if I created a digital print it would be too large for any gallery and primarily function as a sculpture one and kind of look messed up, leading to the humorous idea of this epic failure of a work, which is also an inherent idea of space travel, the possibility of failure. I felt that just forcing it into a small space would be really funny and ridiculous and also transformative from one medium to another.”

HOW TO GO

What: “HWD (height, width, depth) Sculpture Exhibition 2020.”

Where: Rosewood Arts Centre, 2655 Olson Drive, Kettering

When: Through Sept. 25. Hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

View in person: Patrons may enter Rosewood through the main front door entrance (by the flag pole) or at the accessibility doors on the north side of the building. A key to the gallery must be checked out in the front office. Six patrons will be permitted in the gallery at any one time and you’ll be asked to keep the gallery doors closed when viewing the exhibit.

View online: Go to www.playkettering.org/current_exhibition. There’s a slide show of the art from HWD’s 24 artists, plus you can view or download a catalog of the exhibition — complete with photographs of the art and artists' bios.

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