Taproots: Sculpture by Carol Setterlund
Humboldt State University First Street Gallery is pleased to announce Taproots : Sculpture by Carol Setterlund. The exhibit is produced by the students in the Museum and Gallery Practices Program at Humboldt State University, the exhibition will run August 26th through September 21st.
Carol Setterlund's totemic-figurative sculptures are composed of a variety of materials, including driftwood and other found objects. Setterlund uses wood, (her medium of choice) for its ability to convey warmth and life. Using an electric chain saw and various hand tools, the artist creates expressionist renderings of the human figure meant to represent various aspects of the human condition. Within the confines of the gallery space, Setterlund's art delivers the viewer a complex range of themes simultaneously embodying, comedy, tragedy, absurdity, warmth, and pathos.
Upon entering the gallery space, one's eyes are met with the gaze of Setterlund's life-size sculptures, raising the question of who is the viewer and who is the object. While some figures express a subtle gayety, others exude an overwhelming sense of melancholy and tragedy. Setterlund explains her process as more visceral than intellectual. She does not begin with a preconceived plan of what will emerge from the wood. Instead, she works intuitively, allowing the figures to reveal themselves and take on lives of their own. After the completion of a piece, she feels more like "an observer of the finished work" than a conscious creator.
Throughout much of Setterlund's work are recurring references to the universal experiences and emotions of humanity. The weathered, rough textures of one piece, Time Present, simulate the effects of aging and experience. In a sense her figures are emblematic of the human drive towards endurance and survival. Setterlund states that " in beauty and experience there is always some form of trauma." Each sculpture stands on its own, in secluded dignity, expressing Setterlund's existential belief that in her final analysis each individuals is essentially alone.
A Ferndale native, Setterlund began her career as a writer. Agitated and professionally unfulfilled, she started whittling away at wood to release her frustrations. This eventually evolved into a new creative outlet and ultimately, a successful new career in the visual arts. Setterlund has exhibited extensively over the last thirty years and has received considerable media attention in such publications as Artweek and Art Muse.
First Street Gallery is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m. It is located at 422 First Street, Eureka, California. Admission is always free. School groups are encouraged to call ahead for tours. For more information, please call 707.443.6363 or go to the gallery web site at http://www.humboldt.edu/~first. A public reception for the artist will be held during Eureka Main Street's Arts Alive! on Saturday, September 6th from 6 to 9 p.m.