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Two Day Studio Show at Highland Design Farm

by MercerMe Staff

Five artists with studios at Highland Design Farm will be holding a spring studio show called “What’s Growing” on Saturday, May 19, 10am-6pm and Sunday, May 20, 11am-4pm. Artists Joy Kreves, Susan MacQueen, Grant Peterson, Ric Stang, and Highland Design Farm owner Sean Mannix will show artworks and projects that they have been working on. 

Joy Kreves has been working at a 2nd floor Highland studio in building #1 since February of this year, creating a site-specific installation that explores the tabletop-as-landscape. She de-constructs our expectations of a formal table set for entertaining guests.  A former violinist, Kreves uses her own unique dishes, placemats and napkins, to compose a mossy, rock-strewn tabletop landscape that contains various visual rhythms, crescendos and trills.  Large-scale photographs hung on the studio walls show flatware standing atop mossy cubes like trees in a geometric forest. Kreves’ work attempts to leave the viewer with gratitude and delight, while still addressing the environmental, social and political upheavals of our current time.  A fungi enthusiast, Kreves not only uses them in her imagery, but she will be offering tastings of delicious medicinal mushroom coffees, and other drinks provided by the Four Sigmatic company. Although Highland Design Farm hosts the town-wide Hopewell Studio Tour every October, Kreves created this farm-only event to showcase her site-specific installation.  Three other artists there had work ready to show as well, and owner Sean Mannix will have his design studio open.

Susan MacQueen has also been working in a 2nd floor studio in building #1 at Highland Design Farm, for 4 years.  An Ohio native, she has previously received recognition for her sculptures and drawings of sheep, but is currently working on a series of abstract wall sculptures that explore relationships, through the use of variously colored and sized oval shapes that are mounted on long wires that emerge from a wall-mounted wood base. The ovals spring into action at a viewer’s gentle touch, creating an animated sculpture that entices one to a closer examination of their relationships to each other and to the viewer. MacQueen says, drawing, sculpture, printmaking and painting are all places I like to go.  I am at home with both representational and abstract work”. MacQueen has many of her works currently on view at NGR in Princeton, NJ. She has exhibited in several Hopewell Studio Tours and in area galleries.

Grant Peterson lives in New York City, and is known for being an innovative photographer.  A still life photographer for 25 years, he studied with Peter Bunnell, Lisette Model, Philippe Halsman and George Tice. From 1991–1994 he taught digital photography and printing along with Graham Nash at Kodak’s Center for Creative Imaging in Camden, Maine. More recently, he has developed an innovative drawing technique in his tiny first floor studio in building #3, using a machine that etches graphite.  For this show he will be showing some of his portraits done using this technique, on the 2nd floor of building #1.

Rick Stang currently works in a first floor studio of building #3 that is filled with wood chips from his wood-turned creations.  A self-taught woodworker for 50 years, he “always had a good eye for color and shape.”  He credits his artist mother for training his eye, and Sean Mannix for being his metalworking/design mentor during the eleven years he has worked in various spaces at Highland Design Farm.  Besides making beautiful turned wooden bowls, he has lately been working on some sculptures made from suspended plumb bob shapes. Suspended from the ceiling, finished in stunningly beautiful colors and fitted with found brass bands, they are elegant notes, either alone or in groups. They will be in Building #1 on the 2nd floor front studio.

Sean Mannix studied painting and illustration at Philadelphia College of Art, minored in architecture and began his career in industrial design. He has consulted on designs for the military, healthcare and consumer products industries. All of his projects relate back to the psychology of form and efficient engineering. Now Mannix owns his own design and fabrication studio and focuses on wood and metalwork. He is a master craftsman as well as an avid restorer, with an extensive knowledge and archive of historical fixtures and hardware. Mannix frequently works with architects, builders and other tradesmen on ornamental metalwork, including spiral staircases, windows, doors, fireplace surrounds, mirrors, hardware and lighting, for new homes and historic renovations throughout the Northeast. Mannix designs contemporary furniture, often mixing reclaimed metal and wood together to make tables, shelving and benches. In 2006, Mannix bought Highland Poultry Farm, which houses the studios of several other artists between three buildings, including Mannix’s own 3,500-square foot wood and metalworking shop. The 11,000 sq. ft. space was once chicken coops that were converted to Artist studios in 1975.

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