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Naples artist Jim Krieger uses lead, steel and copper in creative process

By Staff | Nov 11, 2009

Things just keep getting harder and harder for Jim Krieger.

The contemporary artist from Naples – who also resides in Montreal, Canada during the summer – began his career as a sculptor using materials like clay, plaster and driftwood back in the 1970s. From 1977 through 1983, he worked with stone almost exclusively. Thereafter, he began incorporating steel in his free-standing sculptures.

And these days, he is all about “heavy metal.”

“Working with lead and copper is still pretty big for me,” said Krieger. “But lately I’ve been using a lot more wood, which takes me back about 30 years, and I’ve also been using a lot of fabrics.”

Pressed for an answer about what his favorite material to use in his artwork, and Krieger smiles before responding.

“Lead,” he explained, “because it’s fabulous and so versatile. “You can hammer it and bend it and tear it and mold it. I really like working with it right now.”

Launching his career as an artist in his early 20’s, Krieger said that he had been “trying to figure out who I was” when studying both psychology and art history. “I still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up,” he added.

Artistically, his first foray in visual creativity came while sitting at the potter’s wheel.

“I liked working with my hands,” he recalled. “But within a year I moved from the wheel to just carving clay. Then came wood and eventually stone. No matter what you do with marble, you’re going to wind up with something beautiful.”

The self-taught sculptor followed his feeling when creating something new. Some of his works were abstract, others simply abstractions drawn from mythological or historical figures. According to Krieger, it was only natural that he progressed from working with stone to working with metals.

“Since 2007, I’ve been doing more 2-D hanging sculptures than free-standing ones,” he said. “I’ve also been working towards doing some more mixed media pieces, but right now lead and copper are my favorites.”

The first exhibit of the 2009-10 season at Watson MacRae Gallery, called “Myth and Metaphor,” features three artists who use their selected mediums to abstractly express ideas and feelings about music, freedom and home.

In addition to Krieger’s work, Hollis Jeffcoat – who hails from New York and Sanibel – has created new abstract works that use nature as metaphor for her inner views. Lee County native Krista Johnson’s primitive-style paintings are spirited expressions full of color and mystery.

Gathered together, the artworks play off each other creating an atmosphere of bold beauty.

This exhibition will run through Nov. 29.

Watson MacRae Gallery is located at 2340 Periwinkle Way #B3 in The Village Shops on Sanibel. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For additional details, call 472-3386.