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Masters in Metal: Artists steel themselves for heavy lifting

Masters in Metal: Artists Steel Themselves for Heavy Lifting by Pamela Dillon, June 1, 2007 for the Dayton Daily News

When the Cannery Art & Design Center prepared for its current show, some heavy lifting was required – literally. The group of artists celebrated in this exhibit prefer steel and other metals as their medium. Hamilton Dixon and Roger Sayre are headlining this show that also includes Cannery artists Mike Elsas, John Landsiedel, David Brand and Kaye Carlile. “Dayton has a wealth of metals artists who have incredible skill,” said Cannery art director Christy Jennewein. “This is a chance to see a rare glimpse of their diverse approaches.”

Dixon, a well-known steel sculptor, had to enlist the muscle power of several men to move three of his 300-pound, 7-foot sections of steel railing onto a truck and into the gallery. That represents just about a quarter of an 80-foot railing he’ll have at the completion of a months-long project. The curvilinear forged-steel artwork with ginkgoleaf embellishment is bound for the residence of Dr. Basel Yanes and his wife, Susie. Dixon also is showing a freestanding steel sculpture – a multiple-banded ornate ring with a snake-like support system.

Sayre is presenting several untitled acrylic on steel abstracts. The popular contemporary artist is known for his deep jewel tones, bold geometric statements and high texture.

“Roger was my fine arts instructor at Sinclair. Twenty years ago he helped me get started,” Jennewein said.

There’s another artist in this exhibit on whom Sayre had a positive influence. Elsas was Sayre’s studio assistant for about four years and then started getting recognition for his own artwork. His work is similar to Sayre’s but usually utilizes more color, and is now featured in 11 galleries across the nation. This list includes cities such as Chicago, Atlanta, Sante Fe and Sedona.

“I call Mike the Pied Piper; he usually has an entourage,” Jennewein said. “He’s the one who has pulled this show together. He’s great at sharing and getting artists together.”

John Landsiedel is a Cannery artist with a studio of his own just a few doors east of the gallery on Third Street. He’s presenting his metal mobiles and other works that he calls “immobiles.”

“I started hanging my mobiles vertically along the wall, and I liked that static quality,” Landsiedel said.

At tonight’s First Friday opening, Rick Evans & the Masters of Jazz will provide musical entertainment. The evening also includes wine and light hors d’oeuvres.

“I feel fortunate to show with Hamilton. He can make it anywhere; he’d be king of New Orleans,” Sayre said.