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January 12, 1996 - Image 108

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1996-01-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Realism In Clay

by Gail Rosenbloom Kaplan

january 14 - february 29, 1996

Realism In (lay -.

Opening Reception January 1 4, 1 2:00.2:00 p.m.

Special Artist's Presentation
January 28, at 2:00 p.m.

Gail Rosenbloom Kaplan creates a mirror of everyday
life through her art.

-

The artist' s pieces are trompe 1 oeil and reproduce
reality in such a way that one mistakes
what is sculpted for what is real

Sponsored in part by Hoot McInerney
Star Lincoln Mercury

FRANK PROVENZANO SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS

Left: Gail Rosenbloom Kaplan sculpts
her art as a whole, then cuts it into
segments that can fit into her small kiln.
Once the pieces are fired, she
reassembles the pieces of her art puule.
Pictured: A shoulder pad is a necessary
accoutrement to any wardrobe.

JANICE
CHARACH
EPSTEIN

Gallery Hours:
Sun 11-4:00 p.m., Mon-Wed 11-6:00 p.m., Thurs 1 1-8:00 p.m.
6600 W. Maple Rd., W. Bloomfield, MI (810) 661-7641

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4

Below: Gail Rosenbloom Kaplan's
realism in clay saves on the
dry-cleaning bill.

E

fight years ago, when Gail
Rosenbloom Kaplan had a
studio built over the garage
of her Farmington Hills
home, she thought about putting
a lock on the door. But she soon
thought otherwise.
Whereas most artists guard
their private studios with the type
of fastidiousness that goes into
their art, Kaplan realized that her
work as a sculptor is indistin-
guishable from her day-to-day
roles as wife and mother. From the
beginning, she considered the
place where she sculpts, paints
and stores her kiln as an extend-
ed living room.
The door to her studio remained
open at all times. Her children not
only know where to find her, but
the studio has become the place
for "creative solutions."
Through the end of February,
the Janice Charach Epstein Mu-
seum/Gallery will exhibit "Real-
ism in Clay," an expansive display
of Kaplan's work that demon-
strates her uncanny talent for el-
evating everyday objects into the
realm of wonderment.
"I've always been drawn to re-
alism," said Kaplan, who earned
a fine arts degree from the Uni-
versity of Michigan in 1976. "Re-
alism can fool the eye by drawing
the spectators' attention to one
thing, and then recreating a whole
new impression."
The "trick" of realism can be
seen in Kaplan's life-like sculp-
tures — a pair of cowboy boots,
hockey skates, a golf bag and a
leather purse. The style, referred
to as trompe l'oeil ("fools the eye"),

is characterized by the striking
similarity between sculpture and
object.
About 12 years ago, Kaplan's
work was unveiled at the home of
a private collector. Around that
time, however, Kaplan was fully
engaged in another all-consuming
project — motherhood.
"Now with my kids in school full
time, I can work on a more intense
level," said Kaplan, who begins her
daily sculpting routine shortly af-
ter sending her children to school,
and ends her work about the time
they come home.
Since late December, she's been
feverishly preparing for her first
public exhibit at the Janice
Charach Epstein Museum/
Gallery. It will feature 30 sculp-
tures.
During the last decade, Ka-
plan's work has been shown in
California galleries, where the clay
movement began. Her "Cowboy
Boots" and "Horse Saddle" partic-
ularly reflect a Westernized fron-
tier sensibility.
Most gallery directors have com-
pared Kaplan's work to that of
Marilyn Levine, considered in the
forefront of artists sculpting
leather objects. The obvious dif-
ference, however, is that Kaplan
often explores objects beyond
leather, including fruit and metal
still-life sculptures.
Her "Tool Box" is an assemblage
of screw drivers, pliers and
wrenches in an open chest. And
"Bunch of Bananas" is so close to
the real thing that the stench of
the darkened fruit nearly em-
anates from the clay.

A self-described fiercely inde-
pendent, hands-on person, Kaplan
has a highly focused approach,
from choosing a subject to sculpt-
ing the intricate details to apply-
ing the finishing touches. She
begins by looking for everyday ob-
jects of American culture.
The pieces are sculpted as a
whole, then cut into segments that
can fit inside of her small electric
kiln. Once the segments are fired,
and refired, and painted, they are
reassembled as large pieces of a
puzzle.
Quite often when searching for
ideas, Kaplan travels to shopping
malls or looks over retail displays.
Yet she didn't have to travel far
from her studio to recognize the
potential of a pair of her husband's
faded jeans.
Perhaps only an artist with a
sense of domestic bliss could see
that the folded denim belongs
somewhere other than the laun-
dry room. ❑

e "Realism in Clay," an ex-
hibit of works by Gail Rosen-
bloom Kaplan, will be on
display at the Janice Charach
Epstein Museum/ Gallery from
Jan. 14 through Feb. 29. The
gallery is loiated in the Maple-
Drake Jewish Community
Center. For more information,
call (810) 661-1000.

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