If you visit the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts in Gloversville any time in the next month, you will be greeted by a striking steel sculpture next to the lower parking lot. Its form melding industrial repurposed materials with organic curves and almost delicate appendages, “The Story of Lucas” is at once the embodiment of man-made invention and perfectly at home in the woods surrounding it.
The sculpture is a collaboration between local artists Barney Bellinger and Lawrence Groesbeck, who graduated from the same class at Johnstown High School. The idea to collaborate came when Groesbeck visited Bellinger at his studio and Bellinger asked if he would like to build a sculpture together.
The artists began work on the sculpture without a plan and let it evolve before them, sharing the duties of selecting materials, fitting them into the form and welding them together. They worked on the sculpture for four months, taking turns selecting scrap metal and adding it to the form until the sculpture took shape as an abstract figure. It is made entirely of found materials salvaged from nearby sources.
The piece was named for Groesbeck’s son. Bellinger suggested the title because it evoked Lucas’ tenacity, strength, resilience and ability to endure hardship.
Groesbeck specializes primarily in abstract drawing and painting, though he has done some sculptural work with found materials, including cardboard, leather, wood and books. His pieces have been exhibited at the Arkell Museum in Canajoharie, the Shoe Factory Gallery in Rochester and many other locations. His work is also included in private collections across the United States and internationally. He works out of October Mountain Arts studio in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains.
Bellinger’s body of work is diverse and constantly evolving, from painting and photography to sculptural furniture and abstract forms made of scrap metal, wood and found objects. His work has been featured in several rustic furniture publications and exhibited at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, WY, the Smithsonian Institution, the Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute in Utica, and many more venues across the United States and internationally. He works alongside his wife Susan out of Sampson Bog Studio in Mayfield.
Bellinger is the featured artist of the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts’ 2017 Fulton-Montgomery Art Show. He will be exhibiting photography, paintings, industrial sculptural furniture and lighting, and a collection of abstract sculptures scattered around the grounds of the arts center. Groesbeck is also exhibiting five paintings in the show.
The Fulton-Montgomery Art Show, featuring the work of artists who live and work in Fulton and Montgomery Counties as well as the work of local students, will hang from May 6 to June 5. A public Meet the Artists Opening Reception will be held Thursday, May 11, 6-8 p.m. All are welcome to attend. The public may also view the show throughout its run Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts is located at 2736 State Highway 30, Gloversville. For more information, call (518) 661-9932 or visit www.pncreativeartscenter.org.