Reclaimed Works by Mildred Johnson and David McLaughlin,Angelo Ippolito
Reclaimed Works by Mildred Johnson and David McLaughlin
In the hands of Mildred Johnson and David McLaughlin rusted metal objects, reclaimed wood and other discarded materials are joined together and imbued with new meaning. Like Pablo Picasso who united a found bicycle seat and handlebars to create his symbolic bull’s head, Johnson and McLaughlin transform old castoffs into an array of captivating wall assemblages and free-standing sculptures that invite multiple associations. These rustic constructions evoke a sense of nostalgia—an exploration of articles from the past. In Johnson’s wall constructions found objects such as old washboards, antique letters and metal tools, are carefully juxtaposed to create compositions that blend the folksy with the contemporary. The exhibition also features a series of floor sculptures created by McLaughlin that includes a large-scale piece produced specifically for UMMA. This unique construction consists of welded rusted metal rings that are fashioned into a spherical form that sits atop a pair of antique wheels. The two artists are kindred spirits. Both embrace the notion of the artist as collectors of oddities and delight in the unique qualities and forms of these assorted objects. Johnson maintains a studio is Brunswick, ME. McLaughlin lives and works in Liberty, ME.
Angelo Ippolito charted his own individual path as an artist and defied categorization throughout his career. His works ranged from lyrical, gestural abstractions to hard-edged compositions and from the non-objective to the representational. Ippolito, an important figure in the New York School of Abstract Expressionism, was instrumental in opening the Tanager Gallery in New York City. He contributed to the burgeoning art scene of the ‘50s by inspiring the formation of artist-run cooperatives and his charismatic nature earned him the title “Mr. Tenth Street” by his peers. Ippolito’s canvases attest to his expertise as a colorist; the paintings display brilliant yellows, saturated reds, and an array of blue hues. Many of the artist’s works were inspired by the landscape — his childhood memories of Italian hill towns and later, of Midwestern farmlands inform these abstract compositions. Space is defined through shards and expanses of color and there are often traces of a horizon line and sky. In the Regatta Series of the ‘80s, the artist employed flat planes of color, strong diagonals and precise edges in compositions that pay tribute to the ocean. References to sails, nautical motifs, and pennants are evident in this series. The diverse works featured in this exhibition demonstrate Ippolito’s idiosyncratic approach to art and his ability to seamlessly explore a wide range of styles.