T omorrow night is a sort of coming-out party for local artist R. Sanford Stragnell.
The sculptor, who is from Huletts Landing, will display his work at the Huletts Gallery in an exhibit entitled “Renaissance: Metal Sculpture.”
An opening reception for the exhibit will be held tomorrow (June 29) from 5 to 7 p.m. in the gallery, which is located inside the Huletts Library at the corner of County Routes 6 and 6A.
An Oregon State University graduate, Stragnell was a prolific figure in the local art scene during the 1990s and early 2000s.
His work appeared in a number of Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council exhibits and galleries throughout the area.
However, life forced him to step away and he went eight years without practicing his craft.
This week’s exhibit will be the first time in nearly a decade Stragnell has displayed his work. “It’s one reason why the exhibit is called Renaissance,” he said.
Stragnell said it feels good to be practicing his craft again.
“It’s very therapeutic. It’s a passion — the desire to create and make things is strong.”
The exhibit will feature a combination of old and new pieces, approximately 40 in all.
He said his work is considered found sculpture art.
“There is nothing abstract. I make frogs from teaspoons, turkeys from teapots …. The concept is that you recognize the bird, the flower, the bug, the animal, before you realize what it’s made of. It’s important to me that people feel that the piece is alive.”
His work will be the first of three separate exhibits featuring the work of local artists that will be displayed at the Huletts Gallery this summer.
The Friends of Historic Huletts Landing have organized the exhibits, each of which will be displayed for a period of three weeks.
“It’s something we’ve just started to do on a more formal basis,” said Tom Keating, a Huletts Landing resident and curator of the gallery. “We’ve done a few in the past, but it was always in a haphazard fashion.
“We’re looking forward to attracting some people to Huletts.”
Ed Curley, a water painter from Huletts Landing, and William Asman, whom Keating calls a “super pictorial realism artist” from Weaverville, N.C., who spends some time in the community each year, will display their work next month. An opening reception for that exhibit will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on July 20.
A third exhibit will feature a compilation of different pieces from local artists, many of which will be on sale during an auction on Aug. 17. Part of the proceeds will benefit the Friends of Historic Huletts Landing.
“The Landing has a number of accomplished artists. I think some of their neighbors have no idea” said Stragnell. “I felt honored to be asked to kick this off.”
“It’s neat to have the support of the community.”
Admission to tomorrow’s reception is free. Exhibits can be viewed from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays when the library is open.