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DIE FORMMEISTER: The Masters of the Form

Die Formmeister: The Masters of the Form

DIE FORMMEISTER: The Masters of the Form

September 27 through October 21
MCLA Gallery 51
51 Main St., North Adams
Open Daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m

An idea becomes object through the form.

Master of the form, in German "Formmeister" was the title of an art teacher at the Bauhaus, the famous art school in Germany active between 1919 and 1933 where the masters of the form taught print, glass painting, metal, woodwork, weaving, photography, mural painting, scene design, bookbinding, pottery, architecture, exhibition design, and ornamental design.

This exhibition is not a comparison nor a confrontation of styles between the Bauhaus and existing art schools, but rather an homage to art teachers and practicing artists who share their work and talent with students of all ages at IS183 Art School in Stockbridge, MA and elsewhere.

DIE FORMMEISTER: The Masters of the Form is a consideration on the form itself and the medium through which the idea takes shape and becomes an object. Looking at the mediums these artists master, the question remains "where does the idea live before becoming an object and how does it come to us?"

Featured artists are Yura Adams, Karen Arp-Sandel, Michael Vincent Bushy, Janet Cooper, Helen Febbo, Linda Kaye-Moses, Fay O'Meara, Dina Noto, Glenn Shalan and Paula Shalan.

Through the work of these ten artists, the exhibition offers a panorama of several artistic practices and the usage of different mediums. Albeit directly ascribable to craft related practices, some of the work on view develops more complex meanings, such as Linda Kaye-Moses's jewelry which are sophisticated Wunderkammer.

The work of Karen Arp-Sandel and Janet Cooper implies an intimate reflection over the feminine universe. Cooper's textile assemblages carry memories and holds emotional and sentimental connections.

Initially working with textile, Fay O'Meara found herself interested in making three-dimensional work using wood, wax and fabric, materials strongly connected with utilitarian usage while preserving a warming tactile feeling recalling their direct connection with the vegetal and animal kingdom. Nature is also a source of inspiration for the work of Yura Adams and Helen Febbo even though the two artists look at it in different ways. Helen Febbo's work transmits a sense of harmony while Yura Adams's paintings and installations share with poetry an evocation of undefined events and perception.

Experiment is the starting point of innovation in all disciplines. Experimental animation has been a dynamic, vibrant discipline for more than a century now. Tracing back to the avant-garde in the early XX century, artists where eyeing the motion picture as a way to add movement to their paintings. Over the course of the XX and most recently XXI century many have explored the field of experimental animation in abstract as well as non-abstract shapes, artists such as Oskar Fischinger, Harry Smith, Norman McLaren, and John and Faith Hubley, Jan Svankmajer, Larry Jordan, Jon McCormack just to name a few. The work of Dina Noto stems from that tradition while reflecting on her personal experience as a 2D painter moving into the moving picture experimentation.

Taking some steps away from the immediacy of certain mediums, choosing printmaking and etching as his primary process of art-making, Michael Vincent Bushy challenges the principle of being a formmeister reversing the power dynamics and accepting the possibility of being mastered by the form.

Finally, among the mostly rooted into the arts and craft tradition is the work of Paula Shalan and Glenn Shalan. Paula Shalan's twenty years of experience in working with ceramics is a perfect example of how the technic and ability to work with a medium improves over time to reach its highest point.
Glenn Shalan has been working as a glass artisan for more than two decades. His work is certainly the closest in terms of the use of certain lines, shapes and colors to that of the Bauhaus.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of FREE events at MCLA Gallery 51. Please see the event calendar here below. Hope you will join us!


-Saturday, October 13
11am-1pm: Meet the artist with Fay O'Meara (in conjunction with North Adams Open Studios)

-Saturday, October 13
1-3pm: Free Class - Experimental Animation with Dina Noto

-Wednesday, October 17
5:30-6:30pm: Artist Talk with Yura Adams, Karen Arp-Sandel, Michael Vincent Bushy, Helen Febbo, and Linda Kaye-Moses

-Friday, October 19
4-5:30pm : Free Class - Intro to ceramics with Paula Shalan


For class a pre-registration is required. Please email to reserve your spot!


This exhibition is made possible by MCLA's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center. The collaboration with IS183 Art School has been fundamental for establishing a first contact with the artists involved. The support of Hope Sullivan, Jonathan Secor, all the artists, and MCLA Gallery 51 work study students has been crucial to the making of this exhibition.