May 10, 2023

Works by McClellan, Jansma at Morpeth

“AIRY IMAGININGS, GROUNDED MUSINGS”: Mare McClellan’s “Spaces Between No. 8,” left, and James Jansma’s “Tempered Bloom” are featured in this month’s exhibition at Morpeth Contemporary in Hopewell. A reception is on May 13 from 4 to 7 p.m.

Morpeth Contemporary now presents recent work by two gallery artists: Bucks County artist Mare McClellan and Hopewell artist James Jansma. The origin of their work — both figuratively and literally — is of the earth. Entitled, “Airy Imaginings, Grounded Musings,” this exhibit speaks to their creative processes from conception to realization.

A reception is on Saturday, May 13 from 4 to 7 p.m.

Inspired by an ongoing collaborative project of spinning and weaving with fiber collected from local wild plants, McClellan recently built a simple loom and began weaving with wire, a favored material in her wrapped nests and root wall hangings. Layering the woven wire pieces brings attention to pleasing surface texture and creates a compelling sense of depth. Pieces of woody vines and twigs are a grounding element in the airy imaginations of shelter and structure.

Abstracted imagery suggesting light streaming down from above and light traveling underground in the root systems of plants continues a thematic thread of previous painting series. Paper applied to the canvas and layers of marks and brushwork build subtle surface feel and hint at mystical meaning.

McClellan’s work grows from a lifelong love of meditative processes like wrapping, weaving, painting, and mark making. Gardening and botanizing keep her in contact with the muses. She holds a BA in Fine Art from Rutgers University. Prior to showing at Morpeth Contemporary, her work was represented by Hrefna Jonsdottir Gallery.

Jansma’s ceramic work is largely influenced by those time-laden processes found in the natural realm. Objects are reflective and descriptive — rather than realistic depiction. Recognizable forms serve as changeable receptacles for textural layering and allow the growth of color, deposited like moss or washed minerals. Less visible is the intensity of the “making,” multiple firings in the kiln and numerous reglazings give each surface its complexity.

Jansma received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and his MFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. He’s a four-time fellowship recipient from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and served on the visual arts faculty at Princeton University where he taught ceramics from 1992-2003.