10 Country: Donald's Screen Wire Art - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

10 Country: Donald's Screen Wire Art

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Valdosta - Many home garages start as a place to park cars and trucks only to find the space has a better use. Donald Kolberg found his garage, with an American flag proudly displayed on one end with a sunshade behind it, makes a great art studio.

"It was six years ago and I got frustrated with a painting when I noticed a piece of screen wire on the ground. I had repaired a door and a piece was left. I picked it up and started doodling with it," says Donald.

Doodling became more doodling, bending it here and there.

"I liked the way it started to move,' says Donald. Not many people think of screen wire as moving.

Soon he had three pieces of sculpture and a new creative challenge.

"It was a surprise discovering screen," says Donald about the artistic find literally at his feet.

The screen's pliability allowed Donald artistic license that no other medium provided.

"I'm taking a flat surface and I'm re-creating shape using a flat surface," says Donald.

Sounds impossible.

"When you see it, you can see form, a solid form, but you can also see the surface of it," says Donald.

The more Donald worked with screen wire, the more the liked it.

"I work into the piece itself and become part of the piece as I'm working with it," says Donald.

The more he worked with the screen wire the more he realized that it seemed to have a life of its own.  It bent easily in some directions; refused to bend in others.

"Every once in a while it changes directions on me," says Donald as he points to a rough area on a piece of course wire mesh often used in building construction.

He works on several screen wire sculptures at a time, picking up one and making adjustments and then on to another. Occasionally he holds one up to the bright sunlight to inspect the work and look at its shadow on the ground.  Then, he sees adjustments needed in other works-in-progress and makes them. Slowly and surely the alterations bring the sculptures to life.

"You don't know when it's all going to come together," says Donald, but it always comes.

Donald's interest quickly spread to other types of screen wire. He experiments with a type used to re-enforce concrete, plus other sizes and weaves. Some have a close weave that he cuts with scissors, while the more course weave requires special heavy-duty shears.

"The hard part is cutting away all of this (excess screen)," says Donald.

Heavy gloves protect his hands.

"I love doing this. It's so much fun," says Donald.

He found exhibiting his work fun, and in particular explaining each piece to anyone who inquires. His happiness fills the gallery.

One creation looks like a human torso from a distance, complete with a flesh color. Paint emphasizes the form.

His favorite creation of the 32 exhibited includes screen wire that he painted a pleasant blue color.

"It's like the sky. There's wind and air in it. The blue just seemed to come alive in it," says Donald.

Each sculpture looks three-dimensional, and a spotlighted adds another interesting aspect.

"The tension between light and dark; the push and pull," says Donald.

The shadow does more.  It completes the sculpture and that's why he often puts a creation in the sun to see its shadow as he develops it.

"You can see some of the similarities, the differences, the growth, the mistakes," says Donald as he walks through his sculpture exhibit, obviously proud of the new art medium found at his feet six years ago.

Donald Kolberg's exhibit titled "Life Forms" closes August 6 at the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts, 527 North Patterson St in Valdosta. Phone: 229-247-ARTS (2787).

His website: www.donaldkolberg.com includes pictures of many of his creations.

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