Monday, June 20, 2016

July's First Friday – “What you see, is what you see”

Chuck Laman is an artist. Pure and simple. The twists and turns of the creation he is working on run through his mind and into the art. He doesn't ask why. Press him to distill his thoughts on creating his art and he'll quote another famous artist, Frank Stella, who said “What you see, is what you see.”

Chuck Laman works on a piece
destined to be part of the
Gallery 54 show, beginning July 1.
Gallery 54 in Skaneateles, NY is going to be overflowing with creativity beginning on July 1 when Chuck's abstract impressions, ranging from metal and wood to paint and stone, take center stage for the opening of a July-long show titled with that quote, “What you see, is what you see.” Chuck will be on hand to welcome guests from 5 – 8 pm at the gallery, 54 East Genesee St., Skaneateles, NY.

Many people were first introduced to Chuck as their dentist and for more than three decades were first-hand witnesses to his creative approach to life and its challenges. Where other dentists would default to a standard treatment or “technology de jour” Chuck was always anxious to trying something, to be creative . . . just because he thought it might work.

Patients could not help identifying with his creativity. Even as they approached his offices the hallway regaled them with his photography. In the inner sanctum of the dental office, the books available to help wile away the minutes often featured fine art or the simple beauty of nature.

From the dental chair each visit was an adventure as they explored walls often decorated with Chuck's latest painting, wood carving, photograph or sculpture.

As an artist he feels “art should speak to the viewer . . . if it needs translation . . . it has failed, hence the 'what you see” thing.' Art happens at the intersection of the piece and the viewer. Critics need not apply,” says Laman.”
Visitors to his July show at Gallery 54 will discover his special perspective on art is not just abstract, it's wide open to interpretation. His take? . . . “Middle America needs to look beyond matching frames to furniture . . . no initiation is required . . . no pretension . . . no art speak . . . simply time to see with and through one's eyes. Art is a personal experience that need never be defended.”

Chuck recalls always being drawn to specific elements in any piece of art whether it be its lines, its colors or its shapes. “Negative space always fascinated me,” he says, adding “The Japanese notions of Wabi-Sabi, Ma and Mu, attracted me. I recall a Japanese exchange student when I was in the 12th grade, “pointing out to me 'Americans arrange the flowers . . . Japanese arrange the space around the flowers.'”

Finding it difficult to describe his own creations he suggests that “most have a deep color and linear sensibility . . . negative space is a frequent feature and I particularly enjoy creating pieces out of construction scrap.”

Noting that “symmetry bores” him, he tries to avoid it. Chuck will combine both random and prescribed patterns in the balance of his pieces that clearly lean toward abstraction. Even when creating a figurative or more narrative work, he manipulates his materials in unexpected ways. Compositional subtleties are planned and often become the “most fun end point of a piece,” he'll tell you.

Gallery 54 visitors will quickly discover “to just be involved in the creative process . . . that part where the basic outcome is envisioned but not yet obtained, where the surprises happen” is what Laman finds most rewarding . . . and, hopes you will, too.

Light refreshments will be served. Gallery 54 is an upscale gallery of fine art and crafts, located at 54 E. Genesee St., Skaneateles, NY.