The Chazan Gallery is pleased to present memories | echo | stillness, an exhibition of new sculptures and paintings by Mike Hansel and Neal Walsh from November 16 to December 6, 2017. There will be an opening reception for the artists on November 16, from 5:00 - 8:00. The public is invited.
Through his sculpture, Mike Hansel attempts to distort traditional assumptions relating to function while also suggesting a correlation between life and industry. The contrasting relationship between utilitarian and organic forms is a consistent component of all his visual investigations. A fascination with machinery is fused with gestural organic forms to create personal interpretations drawn largely from memory. The work reflects a long term, in depth understanding of sculptural materials and how their inherent physical properties can be re-interpreted to reveal something extraordinary. The process is experimental and never predetermined. Driven by the anticipation of discovery, Hansel returns regularly to a place where anything is possible.
Sculptor and art educator, Mike Hansel, has been actively producing contemporary art work for over 30 years. Living most of his life in New England, he currently resides in Middletown, RI where he teaches studio art and creates large scale metal sculpture. His work resides in many private collections, and he has installed numerous large-scale public sculptures in museum venues and on college campus sites. Mike Hansel’s work has become known for his ability to create highly crafted, organic pieces that contradict what we might expect from such rigid, industrial materials.
Neal Walsh uses old and salvaged canvas from previous paintings, torn pages from discarded books, debris from the studio floor, oil paint, graphite, ink, dry pigment s, and adhesives, to build his paintings layer by layer. The surfaces are scratched, torn, tattered, sanded, scrapped bare and started again and again upon canvas or wood panels until the accumulation of materials is finally deemed complete. Walsh often uses grids as a foundation for his paintings; with each layer this initial uniformity tends towards entropy, the fixed becomes ever more fluid. In this process of adding and subtracting each layer has an opportunity to play a part but is also altered with the artist’s intentionality; hence, Walsh's work echoes nature’s familiar patterns of growth and decay, chance and control. The paintings mark the passage of time: they are vessels of memory containing the traces of their past. The paintings explore the space between order and chaos, and the creation of place through memory and experience. They are meditations on our complex relationship with time, history and the construction of consciousness. These works strive to capture in painting those poetic fragments that make up the essence of our transitory lives as it unfolds before us.
Walsh is the Gallery Director for the Providence arts organization AS220. Walsh was recently part of the RISD Museum’s Locally Made exhibition and has exhibited widely. He also recently curated NIGHTVISIONS, a series of experimental site-specific films and performances for the City of Providence, the group exhibition We Don’t Make Mistakes at the Chazan Gallery at Wheeler and co-curated with Maya Allison, the exhibition Among the Breakage: New painting from Providence at the David Winton Bell Gallery.