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Exhibitions: Current | Upcoming | Past

Exhibitions: Past



Leslie Hirst
Mary Jo McGonagle
Debra Ramsay



March 8 – April 11, 2012

Leslie Hirst, Mary Jo McGonagle, and Debra Ramsay Leslie Hirst, Mary Jo McGonagle, and Debra Ramsay Leslie Hirst, Mary Jo McGonagle, and Debra Ramsay Leslie Hirst, Mary Jo McGonagle, and Debra Ramsay Leslie Hirst, Mary Jo McGonagle, and Debra Ramsay Leslie Hirst, Mary Jo McGonagle, and Debra Ramsay Leslie Hirst, Mary Jo McGonagle, and Debra Ramsay Leslie Hirst, Mary Jo McGonagle, and Debra Ramsay Leslie Hirst, Mary Jo McGonagle, and Debra Ramsay Leslie Hirst, Mary Jo McGonagle, and Debra Ramsay Leslie Hirst, Mary Jo McGonagle, and Debra Ramsay Leslie Hirst, Mary Jo McGonagle, and Debra Ramsay Leslie Hirst, Mary Jo McGonagle, and Debra Ramsay

"There is a haunting if deceptive modernity in the notion, so often celebrated by baroque poets and thinkers, that arteries and the branches of trees, the dancing motion of the microcosm and the solemn measures of the spheres, the markings on the back of the tortoise and the veined patterns on rocks, are all ciphers"
George Steiner – Lifelines

Pattern's pervasive and intrinsic geometry in the world around us is easily missed. The randomness of thoughts, actions, or events can be couched in the assumption that maybe it is us who try impose order upon a chaotic environment. And of course, we do. But under the veneer of everything there is always another order, pattern, balance.

The artists in this exhibition use various methodologies to find and create relationships within patterns. Whether it is using simple mathematical divisions, embedding language inside other more obvious patterns, or seeking relevance in the random arrangements of information, they each set up rules for engagement.

Of her work, Leslie Hirst writes, "My work explores the essence of place within the context of human habitation and dwelling, and the role of materiality as it relates to location. Primarily, I am intrigued by visual patterns within the environment – both natural and made-made — and the symbolic evidence of humans interacting with the world around them. " In a way she is a collector and archivist, but it is not merely to preserve the objects that interest her, but rather a process through which to discover the meanings of things. She says, "The meaning of materials and objects – or ontological relativity – influences the way that I perceive and interpret my subjects. In other words, the 'is-ness' or existence of something, as opposed to the representation of that thing, is my focus. "

Order implies repetition and pattern and within this concept is an opportunity to both disguise and reveal information. Mary Jo McGonagle says of her work, "My decorative paintings and deceptive wallpapers conceal contemporary phrasing, slang, innuendos, vulgarity and humorous confrontations using domestic patterning, which deal with unspoken, not so nice, thoughts that we all share, and the unwillingness to communicate. Using colorful language, optical punch and vibrating text, the statements are camouflaged or imbedded in the wallpaper patterning so there is an element of discovery, revealing our inner most thoughts and feelings."

Debra Ramsay uses a variety of materials to create structures based on "primitive mathematics and examines spatial relationships. It's an idiosyncratic engagement with a system to generate form. Rule-based systems that I create in advance of working with the materials give the work its shape and coherence. At its most basic, the premise of the work is dividing a surface into two equal parts…suggesting balance. My latest work flows from this concept and takes steps forward; reaching out into three dimensions and exploring size, from hand-held to immersive."

An artist at her most insightful builds on the inherent knowledge of visual language each of us already has. Though the material choices used to convey certain ideas may evolve over time, our awareness of visual elements and their relationships to visual communication help to create, invite, and sustain connections that are fundamental to the viewing experience. This exhibition has a lot for you to think about and to pay attention to. Some elements may mystify, delight, comfort or challenge your own ideas about things – that is the way it should be.

Kathleen Hancock
Director




The Artists


Leslie Hirst

My work explores the essence of place within the context of human habitation and dwelling, and the role of materiality as it relates to location. Primarily, I am intrigued by visual patterns within the environment – both natural and made-made — and the symbolic evidence of humans interacting with the world around them.

The meaning of materials and objects – or ontological relativity – influences the way that I perceive and interpret my subjects. In other words, the "is-ness" or existence of something, as opposed to the representation of that thing, is my focus. As such, I possess a somewhat Victorian fascination with collecting, archiving and documenting objects, and those objects and processes become a part of my work. My current work with the hand-written word incorporates my process of gathering, (antique letters, lace doilies and actual graffiti tags found in the environment), as it presents direct bridges between the areas of nature, domesticity and urbanism. In this body of work, my interest lies in the uniqueness of the signature and the materiality of the hand-made word.

As a means for expressing this concept, I am relating the forms of graffiti to lace patterns. I am drawn to both the visual and the metaphorical connection between words and lace. Words, like lace, are often used to conceal or contort, rather than to reveal – like a veil. At the same time, both words and lace lend significance to the ordinary, or the "making special" of something. Through a process of drawing that is intrinsic to handwriting and needlework, my compositions invite viewers to consider the aesthetic lure of embellished venires as a device that makes false promises or prompts unwarranted reactions – whether respect, joy or repulsion – from the surface.

My work with the written word is a complimentary component to an on-going series of drawings entitled "Airplane Drawings." These drawings represent my immediate response to visual patterns on the ground as seen from an airplane. In order to document what I am seeing as quickly as possible, I work with ballpoint pen directly onto the page of the magazine that I am reading. These drawings have served as the basis for many of my painted and collaged compositions.

However, I have come to see these works as complete on their own – a strange mix of typography and topography. There are now over 100 Airplane Drawings in this series, which can be hung in a continuous row to mimic the windows of an airplane. Or, the drawings can be hung in a grid format, which reflects the concept of the landscape as a visual quilt.

The conscious lineage of this exhibition as a progression from my earlier bodies of work in drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, artist's books and installations is emphasized by the dichotomy (and similarity) between organic and constructed order. Through method and media, I wish to emphasize the unusual qualities of nature in the intervened landscape as a source of transcendence and enchantment.


Mary Jo McGonagle

My art practice is a multi-disciplinary practice that explores the many issues happening in the home. The work is made out of the necessity to expose the subconscious desires and demands on the psyche versus what is considered an acceptable form of communication in suburbia. Investigation of images and narratives of sublimated family dynamics and the idea of the suburban home as an environment of contradictions.

My decorative paintings and deceptive wallpapers conceal contemporary phrasing, slang, innuendos, vulgarity and humorous confrontations using domestic patterning, which deal with unspoken, not so nice, thoughts that we all share, and the unwillingness to communicate. Using colorful language, optical punch and vibrating text, the statements are camouflaged or imbedded in the wallpaper patterning so there is an element of discovery, revealing our inner most thoughts and feelings.

In addition, combining video and sound to create installations, which reflect my fascination with how our relationships take place in our everyday life, hovering between humor and desperation, and time-based media in conjunction with painting creates an overall environment.


Debra Ramsay

My artwork has its foundation in primitive mathematics and examines spatial relationships. It's an idiosyncratic engagement with a system to generate form. Rule-based systems that I create in advance of working with the materials give the work its shape and coherence.

At its most basic, the premise of the work is dividing a surface into two equal parts…suggesting balance. My latest work flows from this concept and takes steps forward; reaching out into three dimensions and exploring size, from hand-held to immersive.

I'm not a painter. My artwork is built with materials, such as wax, paper, string, eggshells. Finding unique ways to manipulate these materials interests me.




Biographies

Leslie Hirst
Education
MFA, Maryland Institute College Of Art,
Mount Royal Graduate School Of Art; Baltimore, Maryland
BFA, The School Of The Art Institute Of Chicago,
Painting Concentration; Chicago, Illinois

Selected Solo And Group Exhibitions
Fourmations
Pavel Zoubok Gallery, New York, New York; 2008
TIMESTAMP
Chazan Gallery, Providence, Rhode Island, 2012
American Artists and Not
Vi Biennale Di Soncino A Marco, Soncino, Italy, 2011
Halpert Biennial
Turchin Center For The Visual Arts,
Boone, North Carolina, 2011

Honors
Centre D'art/Marnay Art Centre,
Marnay-sur-Seine, France, 2010
The Harriet W. Sheridan Center For Teaching
and Learning, Excellence in Teaching, Brown
University, 2009

Professional Development Grant
Rhode Island School of Design, 2010 & 2007

Mary Jo McGonagle
Education
MFA Candidate 2011,
Massachusetts College of Art & Design
BFA, School of Visual Arts

Selected Solo And Group Exhibitions
Video Night
School House Gallery, Provincetown,
Massachusetts, 2010
Linear Energy - Mcgonagle & Leka
Bruce Krushner Gallery, Fairfield, Connecticut, 2010

Residency Fellowships
Fine Arts Work Center,
Provincetown, Massachusetts, 2010

Debra Ramsay
Education
Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon
BA, Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, New York
Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York

Selected Solo And Group Exhibitions
Blank Space Gallery, New York, New York, 2012
Domino 02,
Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, 2012
Visual Phrasing,
Maloney Art Gallery, College of Saint Elizabeth,
Morristown, New Jersey, 2011
An Exchange With Sol Lewitt,
Mass Moca, North Adams, Massachusetts, 2011

Selected Collections
Ritz-Carlton, Dubai
Queens Hospital Center, Queens, New York
9/11 Memorial Museum, New York, New York




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