A family gathering

On March 5, Clark Derbes’ “A Family Gathering: Sculptures and Relatives” debuted at JDK Design Studio.His latest work features wooden sculptures, ink paintings and gouaches on birch panels by the Burlington artist. At the front of the exhibit, one is immediately welcomed by free standing, carved birch wood prisms.   “The sculptures are translated manifestations of Clark’s actual friends and relatives,” JDK Asst. Creative Director Madelyn Feldman said.      “Each certainly takes on its own personality, obviously reflective of the people they embody … being able to compare the pieces reflective of them to the actual beings,”  she said.  Derbes purposely stained these wood carvings in colors ranging from soft, simple white to blood orange.These shades help invite the viewer to observe the pieces in odd, yet structured, carved angles. The “sculptures and relatives” are individuals, taking on their own form and personality like that of a person. The placement of these objets, a family of their own, resembles the gathering Clark Derbes has suggested each viewer see. Freshman Adeline Bouras found the connection between Derbes’ art and the exhibit’s name “A Family Gathering” particularly profound. “As I moved my way through the different gallery sections, the arrangement of each piece worked well with those surrounding it. The medium and the techniques used were so similar, but their appearance made them quite different,” she said. The JDK Gallery meanders through a renovated grocery store into an open basement. Its exposed ceiling, piping and floor boards provide an abstract frame for Derbes’ unique art. The exhibit, composed of two floors, uses the atmosphere of the gallery in his work. The mood and tone of the work shifts from the upstairs exhibit to the pieces hung on the wall of the basement. The basement is a testament to a transformation from a soft tone to something more urban. A skate ramp and a mural of giant heads highlight the shift.     Vibrating painted flat pieces of wood line the basement to produce a 3-D quality from certain angles. Derbes’ ability to incorporate multiple dimensions in a flat, two dimensional piece is what makes his work strikingly unique.