When Wood Met Design: LeeAnn Gorman and Paula Haymond

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Painter LeeAnn Gorman met sculptor Paula Haymond at the Archway Gallery, and they formed a friendship which has now led to a collaboration.

In the current show, each artist has solo pieces, but also shown are works where their efforts are collaborative.

The artists exchanged ideas as well as efforts, and Gorman's use of mapping as a theme has been incorporated by Haymond, even in her solo pieces. Gorman's paintings use acrylic on canvas, and resemble is some ways the kind of map one might see of an underground subway system in London or New York.

Each one is different, yet they seem to have a similarity that I found a bit disturbing. While Gorman is not repeating herself, she seems to be working in much the same territory, painting after painting.

Gorman worked with Haymond on 230 Cathedral Avenue, a wall sculpture of nine "spires", with colored canvas inserts by Gorman coated with resin to make them seem like stained-glass windows. Haymond used Oregon Maple for the spires, and hand-carved the openings for each "window"; the work took almost four months to complete.

Despite the signpost of the title, and a conversation with the charming and articulate Paula Haymond about this work, I still see it very differently. The shape of the spires struck me as surfboards, and the inserts, which looked in their final incarnation as ceramic adornments, suggested to me the openness and warmth of Australians - they might have been surfboards stacked near each other as their owners gathered around a festive beach barbecue. Either way, it is a pleasure to view it.

Haymond created a series of wood sculptures in the shape of bowls, or vases, and these give the impression of being ceramic, so highly polished is the wood. All Along the Watch Tower is such a tall vase, and Haymond has carved into the Texas Ash wood separate openings for about 100 elements from time-pieces, which have been painstakingly inserted. It took several months to complete, and is obviously a labor of love.

A large wall sculpture is a 4' by 8' pine dining room table, reclaimed from the trash, which Haymond envisioned as West Texas after the waters had receded millions of years ago. The work is intricate, and gripping; it echoes again some of the "mapping" concepts that Gorman brought to the collaboration.

It provides a sense of an archeological "dig", and clearly conveys the reminder that centuries come and centuries go. The fact that it is a powerful work of artistry using a discarded manufactured item from an industrial age adds a special resonance.

There are four sculptures titled Mapping the Interior, identified as I, II, III, and IV. The one titled II is a sculpture that rises with elegance and verve to suggest perhaps the shape of a calla lily. It has charm, and style, and is also thoroughly carved throughout with the small circles that echo the mapping concept of Gorman.

There are indications that, while this is the first collaboration between Gorman and Haymond, it will not be the last.

When Wood Met Design: LeeAnn Gorman and Paula Haymond continues through October 30, Archway Gallery, 2305 Dunlavy, open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., 713-522-2409, archwaygallery.com.

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