Steel and resin creations resonate with gallery-goers

Lilly Necker / Sun Star Reporter
September 7, 2011

On the first Friday of every month, the Fairbanks art scene opens up its doors to the public and celebrates First Friday. The Annex Gallery at 2922 Parks Highway welcomed its guests Sept. 2 with little cakes along with the enchanting resin sculptures of University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) professor Wendy Croskrey and the explosive art of steel artist Isaac Aden.

“My greatest source of inspiration is the nature of Alaska and my experiences,” Croskrey said. Croskrey has taught sculpture at the UAF Art Department since 1990. She used heat and several layers of resin to make her shiny, colorful pieces, which bore names like “River Movement,” “Gastropod Exhale and Inhale” and “Up a River.” Her sculptures contrast side by side, negative and positive.

One exhibit, “Bells,” is an iridescent ocean blue piece with funnel-shaped ends on both sides.

Isaac Aden stands next to his largest exhibit on Sept. 3, 2011. Aden opened a show for the Sept. 1 "First Friday" at the Annex Gallery in Ester. Lilly Necker/Sun Star

Isaac Aden stands next to his largest exhibit on Sept. 3, 2011. Aden opened a show for the Sept. 1 "First Friday" at the Annex Gallery in Ester. Lilly Necker/Sun Star

“This is my idea of a bell. It has so much movement in them and some way of sound.” Croskrey said.

Croskrey shares The Annex showroom with Isaac Aden. After growing up in Alaska, Alden now lives in New York where he creates art in his own studio. Nevertheless, when you look at his art made from steel plates customized by Anchorage-based Alaska Steel, you know where his roots are.

“Nearly every piece in the Annex Gallery depicts the amazing glaciers in Alaska,” Aden said.

“Matanuska,” “Worthington” and the largest display item, “The Firm and the Yielding,” are treated with acid and other chemicals. He used plastic bags, different papers and fabrics to create the tips and edges of the artificial rust.

“The Romantic era and minimalistic structures made a huge impression on me,” Aden said. “I also love the idea of color not being applied to something, but the painting evolved from the structure of the material.”

Like Croskrey, Aden has already had exhibitions all over the world. Such success comes from focusing on bettering yourself, he said.

“You need to do something with your art that, when it´s done, you impress yourself,” Aden said. “And once you figured that out you need to push yourself hard, don’t think about what other people may think of it and never give up.”

The Annex plans to support young talent and unknown artists at next month’s First Friday. Therefore, art students, media students, performance artists or those who have works hidden in the basement can bring two pieces of any type of artwork to The Annex on Oct. 4 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. The gallery will present the pieces to the public for one month starting Oct. 7.

You can find more information at www.theannexgallery.com

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