New sculptures installed at Bluff View Art District

New sculptures installed at Bluff View Art District

June 10th, 2012 by Barry Courter in Life Entertainment

Four figures by artist Mark Chatterley reside in the sculpture garden of the Bluff View Art District off High Street. The artwork is part of the new "Inside & Out" exhibit at River Gallery.

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.


River Gallery: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 1-5 p.m. Sunday, or by appointment by calling 265-5033, ext. 5.

Sculpture Garden: Dawn to dusk. Admission is free.

Twelve large clay sculptures have been installed in the sculpture garden in the Bluff View Art District.

The works, by Michigan-based artist Mark Chatterley, will be on display for a year as part of the exhibit "Inside & Out."

Chatterley also has several large sculptures on display inside the district's River Gallery and several paintings. The one-time potter said the paintings are his first and took two years to complete.

"They are sort of dream-world stuff and I think similar in some ways to my sculpture pieces," he said.

The sculptures in the garden include three realistic works, eight interpretive or more surreal figures and a 15-foot totem composed of six 20-inch heads that resemble Bluff View owners Mary and Dr. Charles Portera and members of their family.

"It was challenging and fulfilling," Chatterley said.

When sculpting, he first sketches what he wants to make and then does the construction by hand without molds or forms, he said. All of the sculptures are made of clay and hollow. Chatterley said he constructs them in segments of 6 to 8 inches at a time, allowing the clay to harden between levels. Once the pieces are complete, he fires them in a 700-cubic-foot kiln he constructed himself.

After the first fire, he applies a crater glaze that he developed himself.

"It gives them a weathered, old look," he said.

Chatterley's bio says he goes through about 18,000 pounds of clay each year and that a large piece can take up to three weeks to complete.

Chatterley said some of his pieces are rented by municipalities as public art pieces in the North. He said he's known the Porteras for 20 years and was thrilled to be asked to display so many pieces in the garden at Bluff View.

"It's a wonderful opportunity," he said. "I've watched this place grow and change. I've changed over that time too."