Two Cherry Hill residents feature in art exhibition at Markeim Arts Center

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Haddonfield’s Markeim Arts Center will feature two South Jersey artists with a passion for art in unusual mediums. Wires and glass might not seem like a good combination, but for this exhibition, they create a perfect marriage.

The art exhibition, “Figure, Form and Fantasy,” will be on view at the Markeim Arts Center through June 21. This is a two-person show, exhibiting works in stained glass by Risa Batterman-Dera, and wire-mesh sculptures by Bonnie Shanas, both Cherry Hill residents.

“I feel wonderful about my work being shown at the Markeim Arts Center. I exhibit in many places, but to be able to exhibit locally and share work with people I know, and don’t know, is a great opportunity. Markeim is a wonderful center. I couldn’t be happier,” Shanas said.

Shanas’ sculptures are made out of silver wire in figurative forms, which she sometimes paints and creates to usually be hung on a wall. For her wire-mesh pieces, Shanas said she has two lines of work. Her first depicts more classic, nude, sensual figures, and the other depicts people in movement.

“I like being able to capture the movement of dancing or running. Instilling a movement in something so still is one of the challenges I really enjoy,” Shanas said.

Batterman-Dera uses the tiffany method for her stained glass pieces, which allows for more graceful and smaller pieces with lots of detail. For the tiffany method, the artist uses copper foil, places the glass pieces together like a puzzle, and then solders them together to create the lines. What differentiates her work from others is her use of specialized and artistic glass that use combined colors that creates a lot of depth.

“Although it is only a 2D medium, there is a lot of depth because of the glass I use,” Batterman-Dera said. “It’s a difficult medium to work with, as in the morning, it will look different than the afternoon, and again at night. You have to take that into consideration when you choose the colors for your design.”

Though in different mediums, their art comes together with realistic figure and form along with elements of fantasy, hence why they came up with the name “Figure, Form and Fantasy” for the exhibition.

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“It’s the three things that align us together,” Shanas said. “I think they are good companions. Both are about figure and forms in two contrasting mediums. It’s nice to see how two different mediums, glass and wire-mesh, come together.”

Both artists would like those who visit the exhibition to create their own interpretation of the pieces and feel something from them. Shanas’ work does not depict a face on purpose as to not make an identity or specific emotion for the piece. Batterman-Dera’s pieces have a head, but again no face. It is mostly about the form, color and body language of the pieces.

“I hope they look at it and can identify with what that figure is expressing or feeling, and not necessarily what I am trying to portray. I want them to each walk away with their own impression,” Shanas said.

“I want them to be happy and to find what they want to find within the piece. I hope that makes them smile or that they find peace. Art is such a personal and individual thing. I hope that they see something in every piece that I make,” Batterman-Dera said.

The exhibition is running through June 21 at the Markeim Arts Center located at 104 Walnut St. in Haddonfield.

Both artists can be contacted through the Markeim Arts Center at www.markeimartscenter.org. To learn more or to purchase an item from Shanas, go to her website at www.bonnies-sculptures.com or email her at bonnies.sculptures@gmail.com, and for Batterman-Dera, email her at risadera@aol.com.