//Ad libs: The bronze age

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The bronze age

Lately, whenever art snares my attention, I want to make my own. This explains the blobs of acrylic paint in my living room and the teetery new easel on the balcony. (It's great to be a singer, but you can't hang it on the wall.)

I wonder if there's room in the living room for bronze. I am so taken with the bronze sculptures of Pola Harrel. Her stone, glass and clay work is nifty, too, but there's something lush and inviting about metal. You want to pick it up, see how heavy it is, whether it's warm or cool.

I met Pola once at Gallery House in Palo Alto and found her delightful. I'll definitely swing by the California Avenue joint again after her new exhibit opens on Tuesday.

At left is her "Open To Dream." I love the contrast between the "open" of the title and the secretive, perhaps teasing body language. The woman's cat-like eyes are dreaming, but it's up to the viewer to imagine what she's dreaming about.

The other sculpture that pulls me in is "Julia" (right). Perhaps it's the unexpected use of color. It adds a softness to the bronze, like seafoam. And again there's a bewitching face.

Harrel's work is being shown with the oil painting and encaustic work of David M. Baltzer, whose art is influenced by his many years working in film and video. Check out the exhibit -- it runs through Sept. 16 at Gallery House, 320 California Ave.