Feature Dates: Oct 7 – Dec 31, 2021
On view at River Arts on Water Gallery (590 Water St, Prairie du Sac, WI) and online
Reception: Friday, October 15 from 5:30-7:30pm*. Artist talk begins at 6pm. 10% off all artwork in the gallery during reception!
River Arts is pleased to feature one of our artists, Rick Ross, as well as welcome guest artist Janis Merkle. Rick specializes in oil and cold wax painting, a technique built on layers and layers of mark-making and texture. Janis works in fiber, creating freestanding vessels, wearable pieces, and also uses texture to her advantage. Both artists share a deep connection to color and it’s ability to tap into emotion. On view for a limited time only!
Rick Ross Artist Statement:
Reflection of who I am as an artist keeps bringing me back to one word: evolution. I have always loved art – I drew and painted as a child – but as I got older the transition into adulthood left me little time for creative expression. In my 30s, another major transition, parenthood, gave me the unexpected inspiration to return to art. Spending time with my sons and seeing the world through their eyes moved me to pick up the paint brush again, this time expressing color with renewed wonder of the world around me.
Nature is my subject matter, whether literally interpreted through landscapes and still life or abstractly represented by the textures and depth of oil and cold wax medium. Like the evolution of my life experiences, I love to explore and imagine the journey of objects and am inspired by history, age, and patina.
The next phase of my personal evolution and the evolution of my work is yet unknown. Education, research, and experimentation will take me there. I am a member of the Mt Horeb Area Arts Association, Wisconsin Visual Artist, and the Wisconsin Alliance of Artists and Craftspeople.
Janis Merkle Artist Statement:
Fiber in one form or another has remained my passion throughout my creative journey. Currently my primary materials are loose wool fiber, silk fabric, and more recently, paper – alone or in various combinations. My process is wet felting, using water and agitation to cause fibers to bond into one solid piece of material. Wet felting involves an element of serendipity, which I find artistically very freeing. I usually embellish pieces with additional fibers, yarns, paper, beading, hand stitching, or mark-making with ink or paint. My work encompasses a wide range of 3D pieces and wearables, including vessels, sculpture, hats, scarves and shawls, wrist cuffs, and brooches, as well as 2D wall art.
Color and texture are the design elements driving my work. I love exploring the interplay of colors, and I often use hand-painted wool and silk for the depth and complexity of the colors. I achieve a variety of textural effects by combining different materials such as wool and silk fabric or wool and specialty papers during wet felting. Recently I’ve studied the Korean art of joomchi, which is a method of wet felting using only paper, and this technique yields interesting textures as well.
The magic of using water and my hands to transform loose fluff or sheets of paper into works of art that bear little resemblance to the starting material continues to draw me in again and again.
*COVID-19 Safety Information for In-Person Reception: (Subject to change based on CDC recommendations)
- Maximum 50 people in the gallery at one time (less than 50% of our building capacity)
- Masks required, regardless of vaccination status
- Complimentary food and beverages provided outside on our river deck, weather permitting