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February 26th, 2010
Artists Sipes and Stanley find local inspiration

022510stanleyuseKellen Stanley’s art challenges the eye of the beholder.

By HAP MANSFIELD
Scene Editor

The works of two San Marcos artists, Topher Sipes and Kellen Stanley, are currently featured on the walls of Jo on The Go, 312 University Drive. The art, on exhibit through Sunday, is both compelling and subtle.

Sipes, a professional illustrator, is showing his latest pyrographs, images burnt into wood with accents of acrylic paint. His work is like no common woodburning kit. The lines are spare, elegant and shaded. The empty spaces are smoothed and important. The portraits are often laced with whimsy.

Some of his portraiture features familiar San Marcos residents, taken from the countless sketches he has done through the years. The process for burning the sketches is labor intensive.

“A number of the figurative images found in the pyrographs were originally drawn from observation, some while sitting in Jo on the Go itself,” said Sipes. “I would then transfer them manually from my sketchbooks to the wood surface before burning. This process sometimes involved drawing the same image multiple times — one of the portraits was enlarged for wood and I ended up having to draw her 6 times including the final burn.”

Kellen Stanley, exhibiting with Sipes, is a senior at Texas State, majoring in photography and sculpture. Her work also is featured at the Gallery of Common Experience at Texas State. Her varied art talents and interests are highlighted at Jo on the Go.

“Filtered,” Stanley’s exhibition of coffee filters dipped in plaster, are a revelation about the source of art. Just like staring at a stuccoed wall where the eye can start to see shapes and faces, Stanley’s filters can look like spitwads, crumpled paper, monsters and profiles. The work, in addition to other things, shows the observer that it is they who filter the art and see its possibilities.

Stanley’s other installation, “Stream of Consciousness,” is interactive, asking observers to contribute their thoughts about the San Marcos River, which the artist will then interpolate into her work. A series of handmade books serve as the conduit for responses.

Stanley explains, “The written-down thoughts in the books provided of everyone who interacts will soon be hand-sewn on the Stream of Consciousness pillow, and it will be the San Marcos part of City of Dreams series.”

The San Marcos River, most residents would agree, is a focal point of this area that has supported human life for for more than 12,000 years.

“The river is a source of inspiration that has shaped everyone who resides here,” Stanley said.

Jo on the Go is open 7 days a week from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

To see more Topher Sipes illustrations and sketches, visit topher.carbonmade.com. Additional work by Kellen Stanley can be seen at kellenstanley.blogspot.com.

022510sipes1Sipes’ work is both elegant and whimsical.

022510sipes2The empty spaces in the wood say as much as the picture itself.

022510sipes3Sipes’ precision with pyrography allows the medium to wander.

022510stanley1In addition to the brew at Jo on the Go, art also gets “filtered” in Stanley’s work at the coffee shop.

022510stanley2Stanley’s other installation asks for the participation of the viewer.

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