Gallery at Laughing Dog
Our gallery showcases regional art and artisan crafts. We host monthly Art Show Openings, coinciding with Downtown Harrisonburg's monthly First Fridays events. Come check out Downtown Harrisonburg's thriving Arts Scene and stop in for a visit to our gallery. Scroll down for info on our current and upcoming Gallery shows and opening receptions. A full list of Downtown Harrisonburg's First Fridays offerings can be found each month at valleyarts.org.
Laughing Dog Studios art space, "Gallery at Laughing Dog", presents "Paul McMullan and Herb Weaver~Recent Works in Ceramics", showing October and November 2019.
We are pleased to showcase recent works in ceramics by Paul Mcmullan and Herb Weaver. Created as wall pieces and also including some standing assemblages, these intriguing new works feature an eclectic mix of three dimensional forms, colors, and imagery.
This show runs through October and November 2019. Join us for the opening reception with light refreshments during Downtown Harrisonburg's October First Fridays on Friday, October 4th, 5-8pm. Love to see you there! The show will also be available for viewing on November 1st during Downtown Harrisonburg's November First Fridays, as well as our regular business hours, Mon-Fri, 11am-5:30pm.
First Fridays events are sponsored by Arts Council of the Valley. For a full schedule of events for First Fridays, check www.valleyarts.org.
Paul McMullan was born in Rochester, New York. He received his M.F.A. from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in Alfred, New York and his B.F.A. from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
Recent exhibitions include Hanging by a Thread at Galleri Se Konst in Falun, Sweden and Masquerade at the Mid American Arts Alliance, Kansas City, Missouri. McMullan is represented by the Duane Reed Gallery St. Louis, Missouri. His work is in various permanent collections including the Weisman Museum of Art in Minneapolis, Minnesota and The Ministry of Arts Council in Falun, Sweden. He received the McKnight Fellowship from The Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
He has taught at Alfred University, Virginia Commonwealth University and Siena Heights University. He is currently Professor of Art & Design at Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire. McMullan also co-directs Gravity Gallery in North Adams, MA.
Facade 1: The front of a building; also: any other face 2: a false, superficial, or artificial appearance or effect
Using ceramic figurines as the bases for my narratives began ten years ago with a visit to a mom-and-pop shop. The new 18th century figurine “Holly Hobby” sitting contently, pleasantly and fixed innocently on the mantel became my muse. Grounded upon their base, images of children playing, pumpkins, birds and farmers all reflected this stone glazed happiness.
Simultaneously in the same shop, a cross section of the local female population sat at a table decorating figurines totally unaware of my presences. I became a voyeur into a small community, listening to the local gossip hearing personal stories of drugs, sex, affairs, car wrecks and above all life. As a 21st century nomad, living between communities, abroad in Croatia then back to the US with my Canadian family, as an outsider to community, I felt isolated, distant and jealous of this camaraderie.
Hiding behind a façade, both these happy bliss filled figurines, and myself conceal our unseen pain, guilt and angst of everyday life. These objects become a storage place for hopes and dreams before heading back to reality. My ceramic work is about that unspoken reality.
An artist and art educator for four decades ranging from middle school to the college level, Herb Weaver strives to take art off the pedestal and into the daily lives of those who view his art. His medium of choice is ceramic sculpture, making statements about life circumstances in a whimsical and sometimes provocative manner.
His teaching career started locally on the high school level, but an MFA in Ceramics from JMU propelled him into the world of academia at five college positions in four different states. That experience enabled Herb to work concurrently with the Advanced Placement (A.P.) program for over twenty years where he ultimately became the Chief Supervisor for the scoring process for Studio Art.
For almost two decades, Herb lived in Bethany, West Virginia, where he and his wife, Anita, raised three daughters. Most recently, over the past five years, they have returned to the Valley and are nearing completion of building a house near Singers Glen, Virginia.
Having exhibited in over 200 shows throughout the United States and abroad, Herb, now retired from teaching, is poised to continue this creative investigation.
I attempt for my artwork to be an exclamation against boredom. By taking elements or pieces of everyday life and twisting or altering them in a whimsical fashion, I intend for my work to be a welcome relief from reality.
Unveiled discovery lurks in the replication and implementation of common objects and forms, particularly when tweaked to benefit the intended message. Often the juxtaposition of two or more relatively familiar objects can create unique relationships, coaxing the eye and mind to unfold all the possible riddles that lie in the artwork. Important in this concept is the injection of the pun. Humor plays an important role in my art. I like to think that my artistic style is unique and self-derived, however, many influences converge to create my own particular form of expression. I try not to commit to either realism or abstraction --- lurking somewhere in between.
I create art because I am addicted to the process… the unexplainable surge of inspiration; the development of that idea; the construction procedure and intimacy with the material; and finally the presentation --- the power within is released. Each art piece represents my existence in bits and pieces --- my struggles, happiness, questions --- disclosing short stories in hopes of completing the book. Because I am trying to communicate various ideas, it is important to me what the viewer feels and thinks about each artwork.
My approach to producing art is obviously tied to the fact that I was a teacher of art. The ability to create artwork without it representing my primary source of income allowed me a certain degree of creative freedom that other artists cannot afford. Furthermore, working and learning with students enhanced my own desire to create.
To define the influences that have had a significant impact on my artwork is difficult. Certainly a major factor in my artistic development was the instruction and contribution from my ceramics teachers at JMU, Masako Miyata and David Diller, as well as the teacher who launched my interest in art, Esther Augsburger. No less important however, but hard to measure, is my somewhat conservative Mennonite upbringing in the peripheral regions of Appalachia that stressed responsibility, a self-sufficient attitude, and a common-sense mentality. This background has enabled me to learn many trades --- carpentry, plumbing, electricity, masonry – which is reflected in my artwork in various ways. Of particular interest and concern to me is the intersection of construction practices, architecture, and sculpture in regard to spatial awareness.
It has been said that artists are the prophets of the day, and this charge drives my artwork, particularly with expressions of peace, social justice, and political issues.
THIS BODY OF WORK
Aptly titled THE SEVEN CONCLUSIONS, this latest series of ceramic sculptures represent thoughts that accumulated while on a bike trip with my daughter, Anda. Our intention was to bicycle across the United States and arrive on the west coast in time to celebrate the graduation of my eldest daughter from law school. We only made it to Arkansas before deciding that we had enough. One of my friends was impressed that we had enough sense to stop!
While biking fifty to sixty miles a day, a person has quite a few hours to ponder. THE SEVEN CONCLUSIONS are an amalgamation of marinated reflections that could serve as a source of guidance in many forms of journey.
LAUGH MORE, A LOT MORE
LIVE HAPPILY WITH YOUR DECISIONS
INDULGE YOURSELF SOMETIMES
EVERYTHING IN MODERATION
ALL ECSTASIES ARE NOT THE SAME
LIFE ISN’T ABOUT KEEPING TRACK OF YOUR MISTAKES
LOOK UP FROM YOUR LIFE
The sculptures are intended to appear like some sort of transport with a mix of parts that include skateboards, bicycles, and moving carts. All that to say… “what a wild ride” in which we all partake from time-to-time.