“Primitive Gateways is a sculpture composed of five gateways made with cedar logs connected by a circular stone path. The sculpture now resides in the woods of the Open Air Art Museum in Holmes County, Ohio.

The gateways were built using the simplest construction technique- post and lintel- and jointed together using mortise and tenon as well as wooden pegs. The circular shaped stone path- 48’ in diameter- connects the gateways to each other as they radiate from the interior of the path to the outer edge of the circle.

The lintels feature carvings/woodcuts in a rectangular central area made combining the use of traditional carving tools- gouge chisel and mallet- along with printmaking woodcut tools. The carving/woodcut is patterned after natural forms inspired by natural undulations found in waves and rivers topography.”

The Inspiration

“Primitive Gateways is inspire by some of the earliest ancient structures. The shape, size and construction of the gateways makes reference to Stonehenge and to Japanese gates known as Torii. The gateways were built using the simplest construction techniques- post and lintel- and jointed together using mortise and tenon. Post and lintel is the most basic space spanning device in architecture. It consists of two or more uprights (posts) spanned by a horizontal element (lintel). This construction technique has been used through history, for houses, furniture and monuments like Stonehenge in England and the temples of Egypt. During the Neolithic period in western and Northern Europe post and lintel it was also commonly used to build ceremonial structures and tombs called dolmen. Japanese gates known as Torii are also built using the principles of post and lintel. A Torii is commonly found at the entrance of a shrine and it is said to mark the transition between the mundane and sacred. Traditionally a Torii was made of stone or wood. Primitive Gateways aims to echo the transition and connection between the ancient ways, the mundane and the sacred. To achieve that goal the gateways are built of rough sawn cedar, carved and painted black. Everything is connected by a circular path of white stone. In Primitive Gateways my goal was to create a space where people can reflect and relate to the woods in a reflective way, even if they don’t know it. I wanted to create a meditative space, a place in the woods to stop and be in peace.”

– Jeannette Pérez

Artists’ Statement

“Line is my main formal interest in art. Pattern & Repetition are my main conceptual pursuits. Simplicity, order and transcendence are my guiding principles in art & life. Pattern and repetition has revealed to me as preoccupations in my work, recently realized although always present before. Pattern manifests constantly in the natural world prevailing in everything real and/or imagined from the cellular structure of a small leaf to essential concepts of cyclical time. Recognizing these reoccurrences and taking note of it in my work is important to me. Becoming an observant student of nature and a better myself are my ultimate goals. Primitive Gateways comes to be my first real attempt at sculpture and it is certainly what – I consider- you will get from this printmaker at heart leaping towards the realm of the 3 dimensional. And there is a lot to say about that. It has been quite a long time since I started thinking about this. The boldness, physicality, graphic qualities and technical skills involved in printmaking happen to be what I enjoyed the most from my beginnings as an artist in training to this day. The more I though about it the more I felt that the process is the most exciting part. Deciding the technique, choosing and handling the materials, preparing the tools, coming up with a hand rhythmic movement and then repeating it over and over and over again obsessively, so to speak, became for me more rewarding than actually printing editions of whatever image was planned. There is so much time and effort that goes into making a matrix. It is undeniably a labor of love and often, endurance. The prints get to be seen by the audience. The matrixes remain put away in the studio. But why? It didn’t come as a surprise to me that the matrix it was always more beautiful than the print that came from it. The work, the handling and attention to detail put into a matrix is something I appreciate as really special because it shows the hand of the Art maker- unfiltered. Then, well, I decided to stop making print editions and concentrated in making the matrixes. That was my though process while working in Primitive Gateways and that’s the reason why I call the center of the lintels carvings/woodcuts. There were some lessons learned on this project on that regard. There are many more lessons ahead to be learned in my search for a way to merge printmaking matrixes and other media. The challenge I see ahead is to be able to make matrixes that work aesthetically and can be presented as sculptural objects while retaining the quality of producing a printed impression, if desired. The goal in the future would be to able to embed these objects with qualities reflecting the intention behind making them which is- among other things- to reveal the true beauty of printmaking, not always seen in the final printed image but always present in the process itself.”

About the Artist

I was born in Borikén, which is the name the indigenous Taíno Arawak people called their ancestral home, known to most as Puerto Rico. I was born close to a river… in a place right in the line that divides two towns. In between. There it was always an incredible amount of light and an even more incredible variety of intense greens. An exuberant amount of green nature. I grew up there and went to college while spending my time drawing and going to the beach. Eventually, I decided to go after an art degree… in a place right in the line that divides American and Spanish culture. In between. There it was always an incredible amount of brightness and an even more incredible variety of intense browns. An exuberant amount of brown nature. There I found a new perspective for my art. Then, I traveled through the country collecting rocks, sticks, dry wood and little pieces of other things. Eventually, we stopped, unpacked and planted trees in a place right in the line that divides tradition and modernity. In between. My name is Jeannette Pérez Velázquez and because nothing is black or white and there are many shades of gray and an even more incredible variety of amazing colors I have always live in between.


Special Thanks to everyone who made Primitive Gateways possible. Without your support it would have not been possible.

Builders: Elite Renovations of Holmes – Sunset Structures.

Press: Gannett Publishing, Co.

Photography & Website: Function 5 Creative.

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