Through blacksmithing, a direct shaping occurs which leaves the imprint of process. The hammer striking the heated iron results in surface texture and form. As the maker, I control the movement of the tools, thereby controlling the movement of the metal. The objects made exhibit the contact of hammer with hot iron as well as the movement resulting from this contact. Whether artifacts are sculptural or utilitarian, it is the manipulation of the iron from which they are made which interests me.
Gordon E. Gearhart is an artist-blacksmith living and working in Marquette, Michigan. With a background in sheet metal and foundry work as well as basic blacksmithing skills, he pursued a degree in Industrial Technology at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan. While attending NMU, Gordon enrolled in a blacksmithing course in the Department of Art and Design. From that point on, using iron and steel to explore sculptural and functional forms became the focus of study. Blacksmithing became the main means of working the materials of choice.
After studying blacksmithing and sculpture under the direction of Art Professor Dale Wedig at NMU, Gordon opened a shop in Marquette where he produced architectural, sculptural, and utilitarian metalwork. Needing to broaden his repertoire of skills, Gordon sought employment in a shop executing large-scale architectural projects. This lead him to Jacksonville, Florida where he worked for a company (Wonderland Products) producing high end stair railings, driveway gates, and other architectural type work.
After a time in Florida, Gordon returned to Marquette where he assisted Dale Wedig in completing a variety of commissioned jobs. Gearhart then traveled to Leadville, Colorado where he set up a blacksmith shop for a company (Architectural Expediting) and completed a variety of metal working jobs. At the conclusion of his time in Colorado, Gordon returned to Marquette where he reestablished his business and began producing objects for art and craft shows, commissioned architectural/ home furnishing work, and sculptural pieces.
Since 1997 Gearhart has made his home in the Marquette area. He has participated in numerous art and craft shows in the Upper Peninsula. His sculpture has been shown in group shows at the Devos Art Museum in Marquette, Michigan and the William Bonifas Fine Arts Center in Escanaba, Michigan. Gordon’s art has been in two man shows at the Michigamee Moonshine Gallery in Michigamee, Michigan and the Cielo Gallery in Ishpeming, Michigan. He has had one man showings at Emma Joe’s Coffee House in Marquette, at the Marquette Arts and Culture Center Gallery in Marquette, at the Kerridge Gallery of the Copper Country Community Arts Center in Hancock, Michigan, and the Oasis Gallery in Marquette, Michigan.
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