Out-of-the-Box Materials = Inspired Pieces of ArtOct 28, 2020 02:07PM ● By ANN MARIE O’PHELAN
James Futral, uses recycled metal and discarded items to create his outdoor sculptures. Image courtesy of Alliance for the Arts
Artists use palm sheaths, wire, metal, recycled items
Setting aside their paintbrushes, charcoals and pastels, several Southwest Florida-based artist are creating works using fewer traditional materials. Some of their pieces are larger than life, others will fit on a shelf—but all will surprise and interest those who see these amazing artworks.
Alliance for the Arts, Fort Myers
Recycled metal and discarded items that most people consider useless are fashioned by James Futral into creative animals such as elephants, pandas and polar bears. “I find discarded materials much more interesting than when they were new,” he explains. The dings, scratches and rust all tell a story of what the discarded piece has gone through. That story can be added to his final piece of art. A ding, for instance, may become an interesting part of the piece. “I choose to create animals because I wanted to bring a closer connection to nature through my work,” adds Futral, who was raised around art. His mother was a college art instructor and his grandfather was also an artist.
Center for the Arts Bonita Springs, Bonita Springs
Self-taught sculptor Gilberto M. Sanchez, who was born in El Salvador, creates life-sized unique pieces using a variety of materials. He makes sculptures of fish, owls, dogs and humans with emotions and expressions. “I like to unleash my inner child—and on some, I touch on serious topics,” says Sanchez. He had worked as a carpenter and handyman, using a lot of Bondo® putty for auto body and wood repairs. Because of a work accident in 2016, Sanchez began to invest more time into his art. He first restored a few pieces and then decided to make his own, noting, “Now I work on my art every day.”
Mary Ann Liscio—Paper, Plastic, Aluminum and More
Mary Ann Liscio’s recent works have been made with paper, plastic and aluminum, and she has even painted oil on aluminum. Some of her pieces have been inspired by artists such as Gustav Klimt and Wassily Kandinsky—modern, edgy and carefully designed. Liscio’s works often have a lot of energy and color that seem to jump out at the viewer, yet are contained at the same time. Also talented in the traditional art world (painting landscapes, florals, seascapes and skies), Liscio describes her abstract sculptures as “highly experimental.”
Susan Freda—Wire, Glass and More
Gardner Colby Gallery, Naples, Florida
Sculptor and jeweler Susan Freda’s delicate pieces are known for their organic, intricate style, and are airy and light. She employs exquisite craftsmanship, showing great care to the tiniest details—all using responsibly sourced stones, and repurposed gems and metals. New York Fashion Week, Stuart Weitzman, Neiman Marcus, Ferragamo, Cirque du Soleil and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Artists Gallery have collected and exhibited Freda’s remarkable dress and shoe forms. She has shown in the U.S., Canada, England and Italy; her works are in the Museo Italo Americano of San Francisco and many private and corporate collections.
Harbor View Gallery, Cape Coral
The art of crafting baskets from palm tree fronds has been carbon-dated as far back as 10,000 to 12,000 years. Christine Dekkers and Charles Fernandez put a new twist on the nostalgic art—using local palm sheaths instead of fronds. This creative team designs their baskets and vessels using multiple palm sheaths to create contrasting colors and shapes. “Each palm has a signature that is unique to the way that sheath grew, how dry or wet the rain was at the time of its growth and if the strong winds took it down prematurely,” Dekkers says. A rare find is a large bottle palm sheath. She adds, “If anyone has one of these, call us and we would be happy to pick them up!”
Ann Marie O’Phelan is a Southwest Florida resident and a regular contributor to TOTI Media.
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