Kerry O. Furlani is known for her expressive slate
carvings of incised lines and burgeoning forms. The
artist has been working with slate since her discovery
of the material in Vermont, where she has been residing
since 2001. She gives life to her work using mallets and chisels, traditional carving methods introduced
to her while training at the Frink School of Figurative
Sculpture, in Stoke-on-Trent, England, in the late 90’s.
Furlani is the recipient of grants from The Vermont
Arts Council and the North Country Studio Workshops
in Bennington, Vt. Her slate work was selected for a Washington DC Sculptor Group show, “Sculpture 2010,” juried by Ryan Hill of the Smithsonian’s
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. The
artist held her first solo exhibition at the Slate Valley
Museum, in Granville, NY. , in 2003.
Her work has been exhibited in the East Coast
and is currently in the collections of the Shelburne
Museum, in Shelburne, Vt., and the Slate Valley Museum.
Furlani’s slate furniture was recently featured
in “500 Tables,” by Lark publication.
The sculptor teaches workshops and demonstrates
slate carving techniques in her
studio and in communities and at public
venues throughout New England.
During the winter of 2011, with support from the Vermont Arts Council, she traveled to Wales to study with John Neilson, a master letter carver. From this learning, she now currently seeks to collaborate with Vermont poets to make evocative lettering pieces for public spaces.
Often the starting point of my work is a compulsion to map and release the tensions and layers of my emotional world. My affinity for the forms of nature is the visual language I use to access these emotional narratives.
Most of my slate bas-relief carvings are translations first conceived in large charcoal drawings. My intention in the drawing process is simply to uncover and discover, to make marks that visually move me and respond to them with as much openness and intuition that I can muster. Rhythms and tensions are acute to me. Honing into a narrative or title can also serve to tighten, strengthen, and finalize the work.
The carvings are created by hand with chisels and mallets. The rhythms from my handwork play a vital role in directing me to the quality of my forms and shapes. The challenge of creating forms with slate, which begs to be split and threatens to separate at every blow of my mallet, is demanding but worth the reward of the precision of line this material holds.
It is my hope that my carvings challenge the public perception of slate as a humble material for landscape and/or architecture and serves to elevate the beauty of this material as a vehicle for art making.