June 5, 2019

Dual Exhibition at Morpeth Contemporary

“AURA”: Glazed earthenware by James Jansma and paintings and sculpture by Mare McClellan are on exhibit through June 23 at Morpeth Contemporary in Hopewell. The two artists are inspired by the natural world.

Morpeth Contemporary in Hopewell presents an exhibition featuring work by Mare McClellan and James Jansma — two artists inspired by our natural world.

McClellan’s pieces — a mix of paintings and sculptures — recall images of excavated root systems that she encountered in her youth. Since then, as a gardener and plant observer, as well as artist, she has been fascinated by the coexistence of roots and soil organisms and how they share resources.

“To me, it’s so full of life energy that the subtle vibration is palpable and radiant,” says McClellan. Her paintings, though abstract in feeling, recall these web-like root systems, as do her canvases with passages of stitched wire and her wall sculptures that are created by wrapping wire over twine.

McClellan, who holds a BA in fine art from Rutgers University, has exhibited her paintings and sculpture extensively in the Delaware River region, including the Hrefna Jonsdottir Gallery, New Hope Arts Center, and the annual Phillips Mill Juried Exhibition.

Jansma’s sculptures, including both vessels and wall panels, also take their cue from nature, including their surface textures (cracks and crevices evoke bark) and their shapes (a long-necked rounded bottle recalls a stem and bulb). Less visible is the intensity of the artistic process; multiple firings in the kiln and numerous reglazes give each surface its complexity.

“Aesthetically, I intend the heavily built and glazed surfaces to reveal the ‘act of making,’” says Jansma. “Ultimately, my work is a response to nature, not an attempt to represent it realistically, but a way to emulate natural processes.”
Jansma, who received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and his MFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, served on the visual arts faculty at Princeton University where he taught ceramics from 1992-2003. He’s a four-time fellowship recipient from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, most recently in 2018. He maintains a studio where he resides in Hopewell.

Morpeth Gallery is located at 43 West Broad Street in Hopewell. For more information, call (609) 333-9393 or visit the website at www.morpethcontemporary.com.