Bent, Turned & Fabricated: New exhibition at BCC

Seattle sculptors Julia Haack and Tom Gormally present a unique exhibition focusing on recycled materials and promoting ecology

By Morgan Hodder
Two little people hold their fists high at each other across a white picket fence, one little man seems to cry, “My nuclear cooling tower is bigger than yours!” “Oh yeah? Well my house is bigger than yours!” the other little man seems to retort. This sculpture, titled “Good Fences make Good Neighbors,” was created by Tom Gormally and will sit in BCC’s art gallery in room D271 from Nov. 3 to Dec. 10. The gallery is open to the public Monday through Thursday, and on Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. The exhibition is “Bent, Turned and Fabricated,” and hosts the artwork of two sculptors: Tom Gormally and Julia Haack. Haack uses the piece “Mojave Double” as a shelf at her workshop at home. Patting it, she said she uses the stuff people put plaster over when building a house. All of the materials she uses are salvaged materials, Haack said, pointing around the gallery to her “Awning” Series, which was made with salvaged paint and lathe. She was inspired to make the series after reading the book, “Gee’s Bend,” about black women who make quilts. “Instead of cloth, though, I used wood.” “There’s always something fascinating at BCC’s art galleries, and I always come to them. I love sculptures too; they’re just so tactile. I just want to touch it,” Vicki Artimovich, art history professor said. She reaches to pet Haack’s “Mojave Double.” “I’m really attached to this piece,” Artimovich said. A lot of her inspiration was collected from the works done by Escher, Piranesi, and Nevelson. Her future plans are to just keep making work. “I can’t help myself, I just like making things.” Haack said. Tom Gormally’s dioramas and wheel sculpture series depict his feelings of the world today: issues of nuclear energy and transportation. His pieces are about “where we’re at ecologically, what we’re leaving to our children. All my pieces are about energy,” he said. Gormally uses materials from wood, paint, glass, plastic, model railroading grass, and gold leaf. He started out as a junk store junkie, using found objects. He would leave it around his workshop until it popped out at him, and things would come together, and percolate from there, Gormally said. He was inspired to create his diorama series after seeing the play “Our Town.” It reminded him of childhood, when he could look into people’s yards and see the little dramas of neighbors. He said his work is much more politically motivated than reminiscent, however.