‘Esoteric Fragments’ exhibit features works by four friendsWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
Four women, all artists, University of Toledo grads and friends, will exhibit their work together from May 10 to June 8 at the Secor Building.
The exhibit “Esoteric Fragments” features the work of Julia LaBay, Angela Douglas, Hannah Lehmann and Rachelle Raymer-Gilbert.
“We are four ladies who went to the University of Toledo together and we became friends throughout our undergraduate studies,” Douglas said. The idea for the exhibit came from a recent get-together between the friends.
“A couple months ago, we spent some time together and we really enjoyed each other’s company,” Douglas said. “This is a really great opportunity for the four of us.”
Douglas, a 2010 grad, has three pieces in the exhibit that are inspired by a relationship she had.
“After some instances with the relationship that I did have, I really decided to create my own life with art and sculpture,” she said. “Each little piece tells a story and sometimes it’s more than a story.”
The first piece uses fur, wood and gold and represents the control and manipulation of her previous relationship. The second is a bronze piece about Douglas realizing her potential after the negative experience.
“The journey has been so beautiful. The repetition I use in my bronze piece represents the opportunity to change a cycle,” she said. The third piece uses wire and focuses on body image and insecurities.
Douglas created her first sculpture series in 2006 and considers her latest series, which has never been displayed before, to be the culmination of her work.
The artist’s path in life was also largely influenced by a study-abroad trip to Europe during college. “The respect I gained for sculpture, history and art changed my life,” Douglas said.
The other three artists will give Toledoans a chance to view several different types of art. LaBay’s pieces in the exhibit are generally sculpture while Lehmann works in ceramics and other art forms. Lehmann’s pieces focus on resources and consumables, especially sugar and chocolate.
LaBay’s pieces will include at least three works from her “Cocoon” series. “They’re kind of like a life-sized cocoon for a human; something like a butterfly would come out of,” said the recent graduate, who was an Outstanding Student in the College of Visual & Performing Arts.
The Maumee resident also plans to include a woven piece that incorporates different personal items in her life. “Most of my art has to do with emotions and going through different stages in life,” LaBay said.
Raymer-Gilbert is a photographer whose work in the exhibit features the landscapes of Glacier National Park in Montana. As a child, Raymer-Gilbert traveled the national parks during the summer months with her father Steve Raymer. He inspired his daughter and taught her about photography.
“I wanted to complete my education the same place it began,” said Raymer-Gilbert, who just graduated from UT as the Outstanding Student in the College of Visual & Performing Arts.
The photographer has spent a good chunk of the past three summers at Glacier National Park taking pictures. “I’m exited to show my work because I put a lot of energy and time into making it,” she said.
Douglas said that UT and “the amazing art department” have been instrumental to the women’s art careers and friendships.
“We just became good friends working late together, working on projects, studying for classes together,” Douglas said.
“We found each other because we had common interests. When you spend a lot of time in the lab working on projects, you get to know each other. We kind of migrated toward each other,” Raymer-Gilbert said.
The free multimedia show kicks off with an artists’ reception from 6-9 p.m. May 10 during the Arts Commission’s first Art Walk event of the season. Light refreshments will be provided. The Secor Building is at 425 Jefferson St., Downtown. The pieces are priced from about $20-$1,000. After the reception, the exhibit is open by appointment. Call (419) 350-4150 or (419) 944-0852 to make an appointment.