In Material: Conversations on Qualities of Materiality

From the work of three artists emerges a conversation about shared experiences expressed in different styles, media, and techniques. In Material, currently on exhibition at Quicksilver, features the work of Brooke Holve, Susan Field, and Elizabeth Sher. Each of the three artists participated as artists-in-residence at New Pacific Studio in Mt. Bruce, New Zealand, however, not at the same time. They discovered each other back in California, and began a dialogue about how materials and process informed and guided their aesthetic choices which evolved into a shared creative endeavor. The culminating body of work is distinctive and yet self-reflective, showing unique and individual styles but also their connections, synchronicities, and eventual creation of new work based on their meetings, musings and conversations.

While employing such diverse materials as rock, fabric, video, photography, and algae, the work is an investigation of the forms and forces of nature. Notions of solid, fluid, and tactile speak of wind in the grasses, reflections of passing clouds, processes of growth, decay and transformation.

Sher’s photography and video suggest representational images and implied narratives. Printed on canvas, metal or paper, hovering on the edge of abstract, her work traces movements and patterns of wind, water, and organic changes. In Storm, Sher printed still images from video footage of grasses blowing in the wind. The 16 metal panels are attached to the wall on pivoting supports and arranged slightly askew to enhance the feeling of movement and disruption.

In her constructions Holve often combines book remnants with organza silk, paper prints and other materials as she explores what happens through their interactions. Patterns and textures of nature are abstracted and layered with printed paper images that peek through scrims of screen-printed organza. In a pair of lovely pieces, titled 1111 and 2222, Holve created abstract patterns using book board and cloth, which she partially veiled with sheets of dried and printed river algae.

Field pairs odd objects and materials, mixing textures and contexts that seem to grow or morph into new objects and contexts. Her Stones with lichen-like patches of beadwork and thread are soothing and beg to be caressed. On the other hand her Untitled Installation, constructed of toy railroad track, zippers, metal snaps, and 35mm film strips, looks like a marvelous spiky growth that creeps up the wall and across the ceiling, reminiscent of Aljoscha’s biomorphisms that have been appearing in various European locations.

“Last summer, we visited Liz’s home by the Russian River and spontaneously decided to go down to the water to film,” the artists recalled. “Ducks were swimming through algae that floated on the surface of the water, we filmed and then harvested some of it to dry.” The dry sheets of algae were subsequently sewn, printed on, and incorporated into work that is part of the exhibition including a video installation.

In tangent points of connections and departures, In Material presents a cohesive array of materials, textures, and processes reflecting on ideas, memories, and artistic emotional engagement.

Join Susan Field, Brooke Holve and Elizabeth Sher for a Gallery Talk and Conversation on Thursday, April 7, beginning at 7pm. The exhibition continues through April 10.

The Quicksilver Mine Co. is located at 6671 Front St., Forestville. Gallery hours are Thursday through Monday, 11a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call (707) 887-0799, or visit the Gallery website at

In Material

In Material installation at Quicksilver.

Photo by Frank Field,

About Satri Pencak

Independent Curator, art writer
This entry was posted in Art Reviews and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to In Material: Conversations on Qualities of Materiality

  1. Maureen Lomasney says:

    Congratulations on your launch, Satri. I know I’m not alone in looking forward to seeing more of your deft hand and eminently capable curatorial skills at work throughout the land.


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