Husband and wife team up in dual retrospective

Posted 8/6/19

Married for decades, Andrew Willner and Jo-Ellen Trilling share a bond of creativity. They’ve traveled on different artistic tracks, but side by side; embarked in New York City and arrived in …

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Husband and wife team up in dual retrospective

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Married for decades, Andrew Willner and Jo-Ellen Trilling share a bond of creativity. They’ve traveled on different artistic tracks, but side by side; embarked in New York City and arrived in The Hudson Valley, near Rosendale.

Wired Gallery is pleased to announce Side by Side, a dual retrospective featuring works by Jo-Ellen Trilling & Andrew Willner. It is on display through August 25.

Trilling’s paintings and dolls exemplify Magic Realism. Appearances lure and trick with bright colors but incongruous details. Whimsical, Bosch-like hybrid creatures teeter on disturbing. Winged things cling to Grimm forest trees; a live rooster hat glares from a dog doll’s head. Disquieting toys have too-round faces, and ‘steampunk’ horses advance. Strange animals peer through Alice’s looking glass.

Nautical notes and textures pervade Willner’s woodwork: An elegant, slender ‘steamer trunk’ box; seawall posts settling unevenly in sand over time. He works utilitarian pieces into waves and swells, counter-current swirls, gentle lifts and ebbs on surfaces far from shore. Willner coopers and carves fine wood, sands to fluid flows, oils it to a rich sheen.

Jo-Ellen was born in Huntington, Long Island, in 1947. She grew up in Setauket, Long Island, and graduated from the State University of New York, New Paltz, in 1971. During her college years, Trilling began creating portrait figures in cloth, producing prototypes for her later works. She moved to New York City in 1972. There she studied pastel drawing at New York’s Art Students League under Dan Green and developed her sculpture further.

Fashioned from cloth, wire, and other materials, her sculptures portray such subjects as lascivious pigs in flamenco costume and leering dogs in gangster suits or leather motorcycle outfits. Trilling’s sculptures have been exhibited at various venues. They may be found in the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, Kansas, and the Ito Doll Museum, Japan. Trilling began painting in 2001, and her first exhibition devoted to her oils in New York City took place in 2008.

Willner has been a sculptor, furniture designer, boat builder, city planner, environmentalist, permaculturist, transition advocate, storyteller, public speaker, and blogger. He is writing a book, Fish and Ships, a photo narrative of the people, places, and environment of one of the most beautiful and vulnerable estuaries in the world. Most of his photographs were taken while patrolling the New York/ New Jersey Harbor for 20 years on the Baykeeper skiff.

Wired Gallery is located at 11 Mohonk Road in High Falls. It is open Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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