Exhibitions: Current | Upcoming | Past
January 22 – February 20, 2015
The ability to create, and to assign meaning to, marks and shapes is a uniquely human trait. Image making, symbol writing, written language development are part of the impulse to assign meaning to and communicate information about things. Of necessity it requires a communal set of marks and shapes whose meaning is relatively constant. However, language and the marks cultures use to record objects and things are the same marks used to describe ideas, notions of things that live inside the mind.
Some shapes and marks seem to be universal, shared across cultures and time. They are a reflection of a common visual language or archetypal elements of expression. The artists in this exhibition use shape, color (or its absence), and complex spatial relationships to draw us into some of these ideas. What gives rise to meaning? What experiences are common to all of us? Are there associations that we can all delight in a shared sense of connection with?
Adria Arch uses an almost serendipitous approach to building images. She often works with doodles — the kinds of spontaneous marks and shapes found along the margins of notebooks.
Of her work Arch has written, "Doodles made in an unselfconscious state of reverie strike me as a way into our common humanity. For me, these symbols are a mysterious language that is both deeply personal and universal." Arch expands these shapes onto canvas and into sculpture, sometimes layering these shapes to create bold, richly textured works that invite us to think of them as both shape and narrative.
Until recently, Nancy Hayes made intricate ceramic sculpture. Her move to painting feels natural and expansive. Her images are a reflection of the delight on this new path. Pattern in its most complex, pervasive, and elemental sense informs her work and color is the engine to express mood — emotive, ardent, and calming.
Of her work, Nancy Hayes has said, "Through the structure of design and the power of color I am diving deep into endless layers of subtext that inform my images: cell structures, atoms, trees, plants, physiology. It seems like every day an insight as to the origins of my paintings is revealed, but instead of dwelling on any specific meaning, I enjoy pondering on the many possibilities and the universal connections."
While Arch finds beauty in a doodle, and Hayes dives deep into the pervasive inclusiveness of pattern, Allison Paschke is comfortable with ephemeral, temporal relationships. Paschke expanded upon this notion in a recent interview, "In some sense everyone is between dimensions. There is what we see, which is a mechanical process, but we filter everything we see with our knowledge, and our naming of things and our association of things. In my work I like to create something that creates an illusion of space but isn't quite a space, or hints at a picture of something but isn't that thing, so there is a place for your imagination."
Her works, which are often interactive, are composed of reflective or translucent spaces and objects. The results play upon our notions of dimensional reality. They are playful yet ask us to stretch beyond a notion of boundary. Material choices are acutely important and Paschke's palette includes porcelain, resins, and tissue papers among others.
I project found doodles, much enlarged from their tiny scale, onto my canvases, revealing eccentric edges and confounding literal interpretation. In some of my work, I have transformed the shapes into enormous icons emblazoned on large canvases to create body-scaled, physical experiences for the viewer. When the canvases are grouped, the viewer is compelled to see relationships between and among the glyphs. A narrative may or may not emerge.
Recent explorations into installation bring to mind contemporary street signage and suggest a narrative exploring space and energy. In these sculptures, the fluid and wonky doodle shapes are expressed in pristine Plexiglas and wood.
I was raised in a family that held principals of design before comfort or practicality. My father, an architect, and mother, a floral designer, I was destined to see the world through its structural patterns and organic essence.
When I entered college I had every intention of studying graphic design but was quickly drawn to the unsteady, risky life of the fine artist. After a solid art school education I fell in love with terra cotta clay, went on to graduate school to explore its potential, and continued to use it as a sculptural medium for over twenty years. Clay was the perfect medium to build organic shapes whose exteriors I could enrich with intricate patterns and designs. It served my purpose as a sculptor but was also limiting in its technical restrictions, especially concerning the use of color. Eventually I needed something more.
Closing in on fifty I made the break from clay to paint, from the three-dimensional to the two-dimensional. By doing so I also started on a journey that is leading me back home, to the place where I started. A place where design is held in high regard. A place where line, color, shape, and pattern are the subject matter. A place where I am free to use a visual vocabulary to express concepts beyond my understanding.
Through the structure of design and the power of color, I am diving deep into endless layers of subtext that inform my images: cell structures, atoms, trees, plants, physiology, etc. It seems like every day an insight as to the origins of my paintings is revealed, but instead of dwelling on any specific meaning, I enjoy pondering on the many possibilities and the universal connections.
Most of my work is interactive. Sometimes movement through space and light affects the experience; sometimes the interaction is directly physical. I am looking for a present tense engagement, not a remote contemplation.
My process is an intuitive balancing of the tensions between opposing forces:
Object vs. Place
Each wall piece, sculpture, or installation consists of rich and tactile physical materials and at the same time creates hints of a hypothetical place for the mind.
Geometry vs. Imperfection
Reductive geometric structures are made complex by material process and the imprecision of the hand. Imperfections enrich an otherwise sterile perfection.
Subtlety vs. Intensity
To reduce, simplify, and visually quiet an image leads to the magnification and intensification of visual phenomena.
The Miniature vs. the Vast
Each piece shifts in scale. Large wall and installation pieces contain tiny details that pull viewers into an intimate closeness. Small sculptural or wall pieces contain emptiness that opens out into a void.
Fragility vs. Immortality
The ephemeral passing of light and the tenuous delicacy of the work is contradicted by its archival nature. Trying to capture these things is a futile bid for immortality.
There is what we see, which is a mechanical process, but we filter everything we see with our knowledge, and our naming of things and our association of things.
MFA, Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA
MA, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
BFA, Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
Selected Solo and Group Exhibitions
Energy Necklace, The Fenway Boston, MA, 2014
Nave Gallery, Somerville, MA, 2014
Bromfield Gallery, Boston, MA, 2013
Cushing Martin Gallery, Stonehill College, Easton, MA, 2013
Art Complex Museum, Duxbury, MA, 2013
Sanskriti Foundation, Delhi, India, 2014
Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, 2012
Vermont Studio Center, 2010, 2008, 2007
MFA, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Dartmouth, MA
BFA, Tyler School of Art, Elkins Park, PA
Selected Solo and Group Exhibitions
Trustman Gallery, Simmons College, Boston, MA, 2014
Krause Gallery, Moses Brown School, Providence, RI, 2014
National Juried show, South Shore Art Center, Cohasset, MA, 2014
Narrows Center for the Arts, Fall River, MA , 2013
Colo Colo Gallery, New Bedford, MA, 2013
Star Residency Program, Dartmouth, MA, 2011
Award winner, Ceramic Sculpture, Guilford Art Center, Guilford, CT 2010, 2010
MFA, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI
BFA, Kansas City Art Institute, MO
BFA, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA
Selected Solo and Group Exhibitions
Candita Clayton Gallery, Providence, RI, 2014
Newport Art Museum, Newport, RI, 2014
Toomey Tourell Fine Art, San Francisco, CA, 2013
Candita Clayton Studio, Providence, RI, 2012
Chazan Gallery, Providence, RI, 2011
RISCA (Rhode Island State Council on the Arts,)
2nd place award, "New Genres", 2004
The Experimental Studio, Athens, Greece, 1998
Huanacaxtle Clay Workshop, Huanacaxtle, Mexico, 1997