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Kurt Dyrhaug , Tonka Plow, 2010; cast iron and enamel, 8 1/2 x 25  x 14 inches; Courtesy of the Artist

Kurt Dyrhaug , Tonka Plow, 2010; cast iron and enamel, 8 1/2 x 25  x 14 inches; Courtesy of the Artist

Iron Organism

Presented by Buffalo State College

On View Friday, November 9, 2012–Sunday, January 27, 2013

Charles Cary Rumsey Gallery   

In conjunction with the Nor’easter Conference Aesthetics and Practice in Cast Iron Art, the Burchfield Penney will host an exhibition organized by the Fine Arts department at Buffalo State College.

Artist in the exhibition include Elena Lourenco (BSC faculty), Wayne Potratz, Glenn Zweygardt, Elizabeth Kronfield, James Lentz, Mary Neubauer, Virginia Tyler in collaboration with Paul Amponsah and Kofi Amponsem, Coral Penelope Lambert, Kurt Dyrhaug, Gavin Kenyon, Vaughn Randall, Araan Schmidt, Justine Johnson, Jay Whooley, Cynthia Handel, Carl Billingsley, Kenneth Payne (BSC faculty), John Ruppert, and Oki Fukunaga.  Activities for the conference will be taking place at the Burchfield Penney and Big Orbit, and included in the exhibition is a loan from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery of Beverly Pepper’s work which will be a great addition to the other contemporary artists working in Iron.

The Nor’easter conference will provide a forum to teach, learn and develop within this practice. It is our goal to provide the opportunity and support for discussions on aesthetics in which every conference attendee will participate and find inspiration. It is also our goal to promote a methodology of innovation, creativity and production to align our passion for cast iron art with 21st century concerns of sustainability.

Iron and the cast iron process are very active. The material is brittle, stubborn, and rigid but can be altered. It naturally rusts and changes over time and with the conditions of the environment, but remains solid. It is a risky process, yet it is a comfortable place for those dedicated to the practice. Usually associated with industry, a unique group of artists have adopted and redefined the material. Imbibing it with an innovative purpose and a changed aesthetic, they have embraced these dualistic qualities as part of their personal artistic language.

Artists working in iron transform remnants into powerful intimate statements. The process requires a constant engagement with the material though various states, much like the nurturing of a creative idea. The process has strong roots in a do-it-yourself approach. It takes a coming together of people to choreograph the process. Iron Organism and the Nor’easter Conference present a forum for the exchange of ideas around aesthetics and the investigation of the art of working with iron. It brings into question the conventional notions of beauty, and the source and treatment of individual and collective creative expression.

The works featured in this exhibition embrace narrative concepts and abstract representations as well as process. Expressed through the combination of materials such as iron, bronze, wood, stone, and fabric, the work embodies the activity of the space between the periphery and core, observer and collaborator, touchable and elusive. The artist’s choice of subject matter juxtaposed with the organic molding and manipulation of materials fosters an exchange that serves as a strong physical metaphor for the artist’s drive to bridge the central domain of the imagination and the vast matter of the universe.

-Heather Powell, Curator