Sleeping Muse and Cubist Quilts: BODY & SOUL –  ceramic sculpture by Bentley Le Baron and quilts by Danni Crenna – August 4th to 14th  

Aug 4 11:00am - Aug 14 4:00pm

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Denman Island Arts Centre, 1016 Northwest Road
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Sleeping Muse and Cubist Quilts: BODY & SOUL -  ceramic sculpture by Bentley Le Baron and quilts by Danni Crenna - August 4th to 14th  

Sleeping Muse by Bentley Le Baron, ceramic hand sculpture after Constantin Brancusi

Garden Gnome, ceramic shard sculpture by Bentley Le Baron

Belly Laugh – paprika stoneware sculpture by Bentley Le Baron, Denman Island, BC

Sleeping Muse and Cubist Quilts: BODY & SOUL –  ceramic sculpture by Bentley Le Baron and quilts by Danni Crenna – August 4th to 14th  

Just about completely sold out, Body and Soul, the joint show Bentley Le Baron and Danni Crenna, featuring ceramic sculpture of Brancusi’s Sleeping Muse, and Cubist quilts, is the hit of the Summer Gallery 2022 season. Body and Soul is the second joint show of Le Baron and Crenna since the hilarious Demented Dog and Pony Show in July 2018. “The thing about our relationship,” says Danni, “is that we work really well together. In the garden or travelling – we are such good companions.” Bentley is a ceramic sculptor and painter, and Danni, a quilter. “I felt like his work could have the plinth and I could have the walls – as long as he wasn’t painting.”

Sleeping Muse

The idea for Body and Soul arose from Bentley’s fascination with the “Sleeping Muse”, the famous series of the head of a sleeping woman created in 1910 by Constantin Brancusi, with versions replicated in marble or cast in polished bronze. The head rests gently on its side in elegant repose, the long, smooth, ovoid shape a satisfying self-containment, like sleep itself. The eyes, nose, and mouth are suggested with a minimal clarity as if they are somehow subsumed by sleep. Yet there is also a sense of mystery, and then the whole idea of a sleeping muse. Who or what is sleeping? For Bentley, it is “about the soul, the inner reality.” He has taken the Sleeping Muse and produced small, ceramic versions, some of which will repose on their own cushions. With an inscrutable, contemplative fascination, they will also be a comfort to hold in the hand.

Elves and Belly Laughs

Bentley has also made some interesting, what he calls, “garden elves”. They are glazed ceramic shards with faces and heads in relief that you can stick in the ground, a huge relief from the classic kitsch of the gnome. There are also some expressive ceramic sculptures of laughing, Buddha-like figures with a somewhat elvish quality themselves.

Extraordinary Quilts

Danni’s take on the theme of body and soul goes in another direction. She has created quilts of dancers, some in silhouette, to evoke how people express their soul through the body, such as the pride with which a tango dancer holds himself. She has also done quilts that abstract the lines of Bentley’s sleeping muses into compositions of their own. But she has also gone much further with a series of virtuoso works that take cubist paintings and translates them into quilts.

The connection between muse, inner self and soul might seem obscure when it comes to cubism. But cubism was a way of looking at things from multiple dimensions, and when it comes to the soul, or the muse for that matter, what could be more contemporary? A portrait that has multiple profiles, eyes of different shape and colour – these tropes of cubism suggest the complexity of individualism in the way we view ourselves. In the same way, the classical muse is no longer the daughter of some deity but has become personally internalized.

 

Danni found that the early cubist work was too somber for her likes. She loves vibrant colour, so she sought out a “neo-cubist” who gave permission to use their bright, colourful work as long as the original painting was acknowledged. The results are wonderfully colourful quilts that pushed Danni’s quilting skills to a new level, to the point where she feels the backs of the quilts are “worth looking at”. They are a tour de force.

Virtuoso Work

The cubist images are complex compositions that break down into myriad different elements, some even transparent to one another. The idea, after all, was to break down conventional representational perceptions. Furthermore, taking someone else’s image means there are no shortcuts if the textile translation of line and colour is to speak true. That means the quilt version is far more work than the original, but Danni would not have it any other way. “I am just not as comfortable with paint.” Quilting also enriches the original image by making it into into a tactile, three-dimensional object. It becomes more real, something you can touch and feel as opposed to simply view, with a palpable spatial presence.

 

People come to the Gulf Islands to express their individuality. Thoughtful, comforting, colourful, and fun – Body and Soul is totally in tune. .