Women of Steel celebrated at Lanning Gallery

Sedona's Lanning Gallery hosts two singular women artists who have each made their artistic mark by wielding a blowtorch. The exhibition "Women of Steel" opens with an artists' reception for sculptor Nina Scott-Hansen and award-winning jeweler Valerie Ostenak during Sedona's "1st Friday Gallery Tour" event 5-8 p.m. on April 6.

The two artists are as different as they are alike and, in each case, their art is as captivating as it is unexpected. Scott-Hansen produces sculpture that is always the talk of the gallery and Ostenak, a local artist, produces jewelry that keeps gallery visitors equally compelled. It should be quite a lively exhibition opening.

While literally silent, Scott-Hansen's sculptures are anything but quiet pieces. Every strong-legged bird - with rakish beak and masses of feathers (each one an individual piece of welded-on steel) - is alive with animation, evoking Poe to the faint-hearted and Charles Addams to the more humorously inclined. To the artist, each has simply evolved into its own unidentifiable genus with its own unique character. The horses Scott-Hansen produces are often elegant, frequently playful and always as strong yet delicate in character as any horse you may know.

Ostenak is every bit the blacksmith - one has only to visit the Grand Canyon's Mather Point to see the hand-forged steel railing she and two others designed, built, and installed at the amphitheater - yet her forged steel jewelry is infinitely elegant and wearable. In November of 2010 Ostenak presented her sculptural designer jewelry on the runway at Scottsdale Fashion Week. In 2011 Ostenak was one of only five jewelers across the United States to win a prestigious Centurion Emerging Designer Award. With the frequent addition of champagne and white pearls, her cold-forging skills with Argentium silver and the unique designs of her rings, bracelets and necklaces, this is jewelry begging to be tried on.

All in all opening night will be a great opportunity to meet two distinguished artists who happen to also be fascinating women! Stop in and say "hello". Exhibition continues through April 15. You can find us now on Facebook, "Like" us and let us know what you think. Or, for further information: Lanning Gallery, (928) 282-6865, www.lanninggallery.com.

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