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Language of Space

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ortraits of scowling, fierce-eyed girls with curled masses of hair are painted on skateboards that hang on a wall of a downtown Fredericksburg store. On nearby shelves are neat rows of handmade pots and bowls, their rich colors shimmering with a watery glaze. You might be surprised to find skateboards and pottery sharing space in a shop. But not if you know the store owners. Artists Gabriel Pons and Scarlett Suhy-Pons are as expressive and diverse as their work suggests. Gabriel and Scarlett met when they were architecture students at Virginia Tech and they have been working together since 1995. Scarlett was a model for some of the girls featured on Gabriel’s line of skateboards, MONO. A long-time skateboarder, Gabriel was drawn to the idea of “the landscape as a series of subtle obstacles and opportunities.” His graphic influences included iconic shows like Doctor Who and comic books like Frank Miller’s “Dark Knight Returns.” Scarlett found architecture helped her understand, and express through her artwork, her experiences traveling overseas. Pursuing ceramics grew from her interest in “how an object sits in space, how it works with light, and how [people] interact with that form.” Moroccan and Mediterranean cultures became her primary influences. The artists recently opened a new store/gallery called PONSHOP on Caroline Street. The fledgling studio that originally began at LibertyTown has become a new extension of Fredericksburg’s art community. PONSHOP showcases the couple’s work as well as that of local artists like Rob Landeck and Claire Ellinger. Both Gabriel and Scarlett say PONSHOP has become their own “mutual art project.” One table shows a print of Gabriel’s most recent painting of Fredericksburg: a bird’s eye study of the streets curving along the river. A shelf opposite holds one of Scarlett’s blue-green plates, etched in the same design. Their journey to art gallery ownership began while living in New York. Scarlett was a founding member of the Sunset Park Ceramic Co-op, and Gabriel did commission

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work for friends’ galleries. They drew on that experience when they came to Fredericksburg to be “in a place supported by family.” The local art scene welcomed the newcomers. LibertyTown, Art First and other groups were all stepping stones along the way to PONSHOP. At LibertyTown, Scarlett says, “we were able to pursue our art in a public space, develop a clientele and learn how to run a gallery.” The two also reached out to their new community and began teaching art classes for adults and children. Gabriel teaches classes on street art and drawing while Scarlett teaches pottery. — Elizabeth Rabin For more information on classes go to www.ponshop.com

Virginia Neighbors  

July August 2010Issue