Saturday, February 19, 2011

Claudia Rousseau on Kirk Waldroff

By Claudia Rousseau

I just went to see Kirk Waldroff’s new work at the Glenview Mansion Art Gallery. Entitled “Untold Fables” this work is both magical and inspiring. It was completely ignored by the Gazette writer who published a “pre-review” of the Kirk Waldroffwork of Waldroff’s co-exhibitor, Levon Jamgochian before the exhibit opened. While the latter’s sculpture is of mild interest, Waldroff’s pieces are far more compelling and varied, unlike the monotonous sameness of Jamgochian’s prints. Yet, the Art Gallery didn’t even publish a checklist of his works in the exhibit, a fact that is difficult to understand.

Waldroff’s contribution to the Glenview exhibit include prints and wooden constructions that hold cast glass panels, that is, glass sculptures that have a print image on them—a technique that Waldroff will be teaching at the Washington Glass School on Saturday afternoons in April. They are created using a revolutionary kiln-casting process so that each is a unique reproduction of a carved woodblock (the kind originally created for wood-cut prints). These are set into wooden cabinets, or deep wooden boxes. There’s even a marvelous headboard with two inset glass panels topping a queen-sized bed right in the gallery. On the opposite wall are prints on paper from the same block that made the glass panels. Many of these glass/wood boxes are illuminated, but I imagine they would be effective set against a natural light source as well, or placed where they receive sun or lamplight. The warm light coming into the mansion gives them a nice glow. There are also a number of carved and painted wood panels presented as paintings rather than wood blocks.

The subjects here emerge from the titles, titles of stories that only exist in the works themselves, but which conjure memories of stories that we might have read somewhere in the past, or that were read to us. Titles like Theodulus and the Egret or The Wrens and the Badger conjure ancient fables. And the images are simple, but enough to stimulate the imagination. There are no right answers here. The viewer is encouraged to write them from his/her own trove of memories and ideas. Children (and their parents) will love it.
Kirk Waldroff “Untold Fables” through March 1, 2011
Glenview Mansion Art Gallery at Rockville Center Civic Center Park
602 Edmonston Drive
Rockville, MD 20851
Mon., Wed., Fri. 9 AM-4:30PM, Tues/Thurs, 9AM-9PM
240-314-8682 or 240-314-8660 for information or to confirm hours.

: According to Julie Farrell, Director of the Glenview Mansion Gallery, as many as 70 programs including checklists of the work of both Levon Jamgochian and Kirk Waldroff were, in fact, printed for the exhibit. In addition, the Gazette Newspapers in Montgomery County published a specific mention of the Waldroff exhibit in the "Montgomery Hot Tickets" on February 9, 2011. The article was titled "Mythic Media".

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