May 2016 – Angela Ridgeway & Wendy Armstrong

Featured Artists

Angela Ridgway & Wendy Armstrong

Through July 2016
at the Public Service Center
Sixth Floor Gallery
1300 Franklin Street
Vancouver, WA 98660

First Friday Art Walk
June 3, 2016
5:30-7:30 p.m.
Entertainment by jazz guitarist Anthony Utehs.

Light refreshments served.


Industrial Crop Circles (left) by Angela Ridgway, and New Orleans (right) by Wendy Armstrong,


Angela Ridgway:
Scrap metal has a special appeal to me…it’s been discarded from its original purpose, and then I give it new life.  This metal could have a unique shape or surface, or be as plain as a piece of sheet metal.  When I see it, I don’t think about what it is, but what it might become.

My process usually starts with the metal.  I look at its shape and form, texture and color, and feel its weight in my hand, and its surface on my fingertips.  All of this sparks my creativity and plays into the design.  The life it has led shows in the rust and wear, and all this has its own organic beauty before I even begin.

Some of the ways I integrate my design is by laying small bits of punched metal onto hefty pieces of steel, creating a composition with multiple remnants, or by combining large graceful curved steel pieces in an unexpected way.  Sometimes it is as simple as conceptualizing a tree or flower on a piece of steel that seems to beg for an organic form.

The design and creation continues as I begin to weld and add heat.  I’m always mesmerized by this transformation.  Strong metal starts to give, and then turns quickly into a molten pool.  Then just as quickly it is hard and strong again.  But the metal has changed…melded with another shape, or transformed by the texture of the added welds.  I build up the welds to simulate the surface of bark, or an abstract pattern, each created as much by its texture as it is by its shape.

The material and the subject have a symbiotic relationship.  Metal bends and warps when heated by welds, making it seem as if the metal is formed around them, like nature embracing tree branches.  Or organic holes and pits from function, rust, and wear add a visual and tactile element that is vital to the whole, and gives a sense of a journey.  Combining these elements with added organic colors and iridescent hues sends the metal on a new, artistic journey.

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Wendy Armstrong:
“Why do I do what I do?  Most of us walk through life seeing such a small percentage of what is in front of us that it is very compelling to me to try and grab that inattention and capture it for a minute of two with something unexpected.  I am not afraid to use humor or whimsy to grab that attention.  Much of my smaller work is interactive and I encourage touching, and in some cases, trying on.  I also have great interest in re-using materials as a way to honor the past.  While not trying to recapture the promise of a bright and better future these bits and pieces recall, I feel connected to our innovative nature and want to share that connection.  Also I get to use cool tools.”

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