RVW | Tom Cramer and Sherrie Wolf
Non-traditional woodcarvings and still lifes seem to vibrate off the gallery walls.
Tom Cramer: Continuum
Sherrie Wolf: Stills
By Laura DeVito, MFA CD ’13
“Mesmerizing patterns and tradition with a twist” would be apt words to describe the exhibitions by Tom Cramer ’82 and Sherrie Wolf ’74 currently on view at Laura Russo Gallery. Both exhibitions are opulently styled yet unique from one another through choice of medium and subject.
Tom Cramer’s work draws you in. The physical depth of his woodcarvings combined with their circular patterns make Cramer’s work appear to undulate off the walls. The shadows and colors vibrate as one steps forward toward the carvings. With the addition of materials such as gold and silver leaf on some of the woodcarvings, Cramer’s works speak of affluence. But even if the woodcarvings were not covered in rich metallic material, they would still exude value, though perhaps in a more humble and possibly sacred context. Not all of Cramer’s work is so heavily textured; some of his works are two-dimensional in nature and have emotive scratches on the wood canvas. Although the displayed pieces have appeared haphazard to some, further research reveals that there is a deep order. The pieces are carefully sketched out by Cramer and music plays an integral part in his creative process.
Sherrie Wolf’s work frees your eye to wander among a collection of seemingly traditional still lifes – though only for a moment. This collection differs from previous exhibitions of Wolf’s work, in that Wolf used a camera to compose the scenes, forcing her to use the two by three dimension of the contemporary photograph. As art critic and philosopher Walter Benjamin describes in The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” Wolf is operating within both a photographer’s and a painter’s lens. This makes Wolf both surgeon and magician, able to execute and skillfully edit a scene while using the finesse of a brush and palette to complete it. As an aside, Sherrie Wolf’s painting, Still Life with Puget Sound, (2012) is evocative of Eric Stotik’s work in Laura Russo’s Gallery the previous month. Both paintings feature a very similar lake in the background. It will be interesting to see what commonalities can be found among the Laura Russo Gallery artists in the future.