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Sue Springer and Robert Koch at Hanson Howard Gallery
May 3 - June 4
Sue Springer creates quirky ceramic sculptures which are mostly figurative, with a whimsy and freedom of unexpected combinations. Dreams, imagination and wonder combine with a response to the current world to tell the stories of these figures.
Gestural strokes and spontaneous marks collide with color blocks in Robert Koch’s narrative vignettes. Often prompted by found photographs, Koch takes the liberty to make his subjects humans or creatures inhabiting the same world. Having the appearance of quickness and even naiveté, Koch’s deft drawing skills mean each mark is playful and intentional at the same time.
Sue Springer’s handbuilt clay figures are constructed in parts, and in series, often with several heads or feet constructed and combined after firing. Little niches and drawers may reveal beads or buttons, artist books or feathers, odd hairdos or apples or birds, many birds. A figure may join another family, hats might appear and disappear; surprises are always embraced.
“I never quite know how they will evolve, sometimes one figure ends up on a chair originally planned for another, a red apple falls into the basket upon a surprised head or a birds nest is woven into the hands of a figure entitled “When Women Were Birds”.
Each figure generates a new possibility, which often shows up in the next. It remains a mystery.”
Springer fell in love with clay in the early 1970’s and has wandered through functional pottery, handmade tile, mosaics, public art and sculpture. After earning an MFA from the University of Oregon, she became a fixture in Ashland through Illahe Tileworks and Illahe Studios and Gallery, creating public art, most notably, the Rio Amistad Mosaic above Calle Guanajuato and the Plaza Mosaics.
She currently lives in Seattle Washington where she maintains a studio in the International District.
A trip to Japan when Robert Koch was 20 had a lasting impact; the colors, the light, the graphic quality of the written language and the natural designs one finds throughout Japanese daily life imprinted on his sensibility. For Koch, a successful painting is not only compositionally strong but also has a story to tell and if the result makes him laugh then he knows he has done what he has set out to do.