CAZENOVIA — On Aug. 1, the New Woodstock Free Library debuted “Fire and Ice,” an art exhibit featuring arctic photography by Jerry Weimar and fired glasswork by Shauna Walsh Watkins.
An artist reception will be held on Thursday, Aug. 12 at 6:30 p.m. Refreshments will be provided.
Weimar is an Adirondack 46er — a hiker who has climbed all 46 Adirondack peaks — whose initial interest in photography was inspired by the mountains.
“When you are out there, it’s beautiful, and you kind of want to bring a piece of it back home,” he said. “You feel a certain way when you are out there. I think there are probably two kinds of photographers in the world, those who are trying to call attention to themselves and those who are trying to call attention to their subject. I’d like to think I am the latter. I want to help you see something you might have never noticed or thought about before.”
The self-taught artist has been a landscape photographer for more than 20 years. His work focuses on Central New York, especially Madison County and the Adirondacks, but it also includes the Arctic regions of Greenland and Iceland, as well as many other places in North America.
Weimar, who exhibited at the New Woodstock Free Library previously, has also been a visiting artist at Cazenovia Artisans and a featured artist on the Cazenovia Art Trail. He also occasionally teaches photography classes locally.
In Fire and Ice, Weimar explores the expansive mountains, rugged shorelines, and diverse ice forms of Scoresby Sound, Greenland. The sound, which is an arm of the Greenland Sea indenting eastern Greenland, is the largest fjord system in the world.
Weimar captured the images during a Sept. 2019 photography trip to Greenland and Iceland.
“We would either do what we called ‘sip and shoot,’ where you are sipping your beverage on the deck of the ship as you’re cruising the fjords, or we’d get in a zodiac and shoot while it’s moving,” he recalled. “In some cases, we actually landed the zodiac. A guy with a bear rifle gets off first, because this is bear country . . . He puts the rifle together and does a quick scout, and then everybody can get out. Then one or two guys stand there and guard the shoot.”
Weimar said he never tired of looking at the icebergs and examining their different sizes, shapes, colors, and transformations in different lighting and weather conditions.
“I think of it as cloud watching,” he said.
The exhibit also features photographs of Iceland, including its black sand beaches, rugged interior volcanic highlands, domestic horses, and fjords; information on Weimar’s trip and the landscapes he explored; photo books, and several photographs of Madison County.
A number of the photographs are displayed as metal prints, created by infusing an image onto aluminum sheets. The others were printed traditionally on paper in Weimar’s studio.
Fire and Ice will also include two types of glass, created by Walsh Watkins using the high temperature techniques of glass blowing and fusing.
According to Walsh Watkins, blown glass is formed at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, at which point the glass glows orange, like lava, but has the texture of hot honey.
“This is the technique that I use to form layered colored bowls, which I then mask, draw, carve, and sandblast wildlife scenes into,” she said.
The show will feature three blown glass bowls incorporating the following themes: blue herons overlooking wetlands, a snowy owl in the hollow of a tree, and a polar bear mother and cub.
The second technique the artist will exhibit involves melting lead crystal glass in ceramic molds at 1,325 degrees Fahrenheit to form pyramids, bowls, and oval trays.
Walsh Watkins explained that the melted lead crystal discs naturally form hexagons reminiscent of honeybee hives.
“I have masked, drawn, and sandblasted two pieces with Icelandic honeybees,” she said. “I also had the pleasure of adding colored powdered glass to the lead crystal pieces in a painterly fashion, and with multiple firings the plates and bowls gain a lot of visual depth.”
She added that the two 15-inch bowls she created for the show feature colors inspired by Weimar’s photographs of Iceland and Greenland. Other finished pieces are completely clear and reminiscent of ice.
“Jerry and I were intrigued at the thought of Greenland’s icebergs floating about and [the idea] that I use ‘fire’ to form artwork that looks like ice,” she said. “This is where we thought the ‘Fire and Ice’ title encompassed both of our work. It is an exciting visual show that I am grateful to be a part of.”
Walsh Watkins studied art at Rochester Institute of Technology and received a BFA in glass from Massachusetts College of Art. She also studied with master glass artisans at Penland School of Craft in North Carolina and Kent State University in Ohio. She is a member artist at Cazenovia Artisans, and she established her business, Windwood Glass, in 1987.
Fire and Ice will be on display through Sept. 29.