This November, Gallery Fifty-Five has a great variety of art to share with you. Their guest artist, Shawn Hubbs, is strongly influenced by Steampunk, a sci-fi genre incorporating Victorian industrial steam-powered machinery and aesthetics. He builds intricate sculptures, such as models of airships or insectoid/mechanical fantasies, all from found objects. Some are functional. All are fun. Our featured member artist, potter Genie Sue Weppner, creates functional and decorative vessels inspired by time spent in Japan and her archeological studies in college. Each of her pieces reflects on the spiritual and ordinary aspects of our lives as did the finely crafted pottery of earlier civilizations. At our First Saturday reception on November 2nd, you can see Shawn’s and Genie Sue’s work and also that of our newest member, fiber artist Jean Goff. The reception will include live music by singer-songwriter Banjo Matt singing covers and originals and playing banjo in old-time claw hammer and Earl Scruggs styles.
Meet the artists and view the art by over twenty regional artists at our First Saturday reception, November 2, 4-7 p.m., with live music, wine and appetizers.
Gallery Fifty-Five is a nonprofit artist cooperative.
More on Shawn Hubbs:
Shawn was raised in south central Idaho watching his dad customize and fabricate machinery for local farmers, using his creativity to ingenuously solve their unique agricultural needs. He taught him how to use the tools, working with metal, wood, screws, nuts, and bolts. His mom was always making imaginative costumes for parties and parades, winning both ribbons and accolades.
As he grew up, there were always creative elements in his education and employment, but it wasn’t until four years ago that the spark for making art was ignited. He had put together a lamp with moving parts which made it appear to generate its own electricity in order provide the light, and he had shown it to his dad. He commented that the result was past just being crafty; it was a real work of art, and he ought to be doing more of it!
He continued building the art pieces in earnest, joining the Nampa Art Collective, then the Treasure Valley Artists’ Alliance, learning how to show and gaining a larger appreciation for all forms of art. While his current work is influenced by Steampunk, with its view of how the mechanical future might have been viewed from the Victorian past, he is not bound to it. He enjoys creating connections with the viewer by presenting plausible, albeit improbable, sculptural works, using found objects assembled in appealing forms; sometimes functional, sometimes fanciful but most always fun!
More on Genie Sue Weppner:
Genie Sue earned a BA from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, and an MFA in Ceramics from the University of Miami. She pursued a career as a ceramic artist from 1978 through 1984. Upon moving to Pocatello, Idaho, with her family in 1981, the lack of a thriving art market in Southeastern Idaho lead her to seek other employment. She subsequently enjoyed thirty challenging and exciting years working in the nonprofit and public sectors. Retirement in 2014 allowed her to resume her career in ceramics.
She fell in love with pottery when she spent a college semester studying in Japan. During her visit, she was impressed with the incredible variety of dishware used to serve Japanese cuisine. Meals were not piled together on one plate. Each item served was presented on its own unique receptacle as a complete work of art. In Japan, the act of eating together was uniquely ceremonial. The idea of making such charmed containers intrigued her then and still keeps her interested in producing functional pottery.
She was also an Anthropology major in college and her studies exposed her to the fine craftsmanship of early civilizations. Vessels made by these ancestors depicted both the spiritual and ordinary aspects of their lives. She longed to master the earthy beauty of their wood- and dung-fired ware, so she also creates low-fired decorative vessels using techniques such as burnished ancient pottery-inspired Terra Sigillata and Japanese-inspired Raku-firing. These vessels summon the viewer to imagine how they might be used for storage, transport or ceremony. Genie Sue’s experiences have compelled her to stay involved in the production of both functional everyday pottery and non-functional decorative clay vessels.
More on Banjo Matt:
Boise based singer-songwriter, Banjo Matt, started his music journey playing acoustic guitar in the Southeast United States around campfires and bluegrass festival jam sessions in the early 90’s. Matt’s first introduction to the banjo was in a broken-down Westphalia on Interstate 75 in Kentucky. His van broke down, but his mood was instantly lifted when his co-pilot said, “Don’t worry, look what I bought at the last music festival we went to...a banjo!” His friend played the first few notes of Cripple Creek on the banjo and Matt has been playing the banjo ever since.
Matt’s musical influences range from Grandpa Jones...to Earl Scruggs...to Bob Dylan...to Eddy Vedder...and to the Grateful Dead, especially Jerry Garcia. Matt mixes the traditional styles of Clawhammer and Scruggs style banjo in both his original and cover songs to deliver inspirational and awakening messages to listeners. Matt also enjoys adding more layers to his songs by playing the harmonica, “drumming” the banjo head with his right hand, and stomping his feet to create energy for the audience.
Matt released his first EP in 2009 with The Tadcasters from Kentucky and one of his original songs, Farmhand, was featured on a local radio station with a playlist that included songs from the Black Crowes, String Cheese Incident, Phish, Levon Helm, Bruce Hornsby, Ben Harper, Beck, Cake, and of course the Grateful Dead.
Matt moved to Boise in 2011 and he has spent the last 8 years writing music, raising his three energetic children with his wonderful wife of 22 years, and teaching 7th Grade World History. Matt also enjoys taking his banjo on overnight rafting trips and it is on one of these trips that he was given the name “Banjo Matt.”
Banjo Matt recently made his way back into the music scene in Idaho and he has been playing live gigs at The Village in Meridian, Depot Park in McCall, and Locals Night at Roseberry Music Festival. Matt is presently recording his second EP filled with originals inspired by his life’s journey and historical events that shaped the United States in recent years. Banjo Matt hopes to release his new EP by December of 2019.