Large Group show- Saturday, May 4th through June 15th
Artist reception is May 18th 5:30-8:00 pm. I hope to see you here.
AUBURN, NY (Aug. 21, 2018) -- When Margery Pearl Gurnett was a child, she loved to go outside on cold winter mornings to search for thin ice that formed overnight on top of puddles. “I called this ‘Milk-kee-way Ice’ because of the swirls of white and clear, as it froze in an instant,” she recalled. “I loved the feel of this ice as we crunched it with our feet.”
She especially loved that ice because, while almost invisible, it managed to capture any twigs, leaves, and insects that were laying on top when it froze. “I imagined whole snow globe worlds in the still glassiness, a borrowed moment captured forever, recorded temporarily in the ice,” she said.
In many ways, that’s what Gurnett’s current artwork, on display at the Schweinfurth Art Center from Sept. 1 through Oct. 14, 2018, captures as well. The solo exhibition, “Reflecting Forward,” features her 3D mixed media wall pieces made with glass, paper, paint, and found objects suspended in resin.
“I had been photographing ice for years as an adult,” Gurnett said. “When I began to experiment with resins, I realized that the feeling I got when I looked into the work was reminiscent of the early childhood experience of gazing into ice, which had captured my imagination.
“My intent is to suspend and embed inclusions and photographic images into liquid resins, which will freeze its moment in time and make the inserted materials appear to float in space like the fast-frozen ice I remember from my childhood,” she continued.
Gurnett was born and raised in New York City. Her family supported her interest in art, taking her to many museums. By age 7, she knew a career in art was her future. She earned her bachelor’s degree in fine arts at Carnegie Mellon University and a master’s degree in glass at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
For many years, she used her training to make functional art, such as perfume bottles, bowls, and vases. Then she transitioned into working with architects and interior designers, making glass tabletops, partitions, signs, and lighting. She sandblasted patterns and designs into the glass, then applied paint to the sandblasted areas.
In 1997, Gurnett was commissioned to make glass ornaments for the White House Christmas tree. In 2000, she added mosaics to her repertoire when she created a glass mosaic horse for Rochester’s Horses on Parade community artwork. That led to several commissions for large mosaic pieces, including three at Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester.
In recent years, Gurnett’s work can best be described as 3D collages that incorporate glass, resin, and other materials. Last year, she attended an artists’ summit in Cincinnati where she was encouraged to make her work more transparent and glass-like. Through trial and error, she found a process that worked, and in the Schweinfurth’s show she has a larger work made up of many smaller panels.
“Part of the allure of the transparent work is how the light casts shadows behind the pieces,” Gurnett said. “There is a bit of serendipity in that, which I mostly like when I remind myself to give up control. My direction in the future will potentially be transparent work that will have more color and overlapping of glass embedded in the pieces.”
Gurnett’s work will be on display in the Schweinfurth’s Gallery Julius through Oct. 14. While the show opens Sept. 1, the opening reception will be 5 to 8 p.m. Sept. 7 at the art center, 205 Genesee St., Auburn.
If you go ...
What: “Reflecting Forward”
Who: Margery Pearl Gurnett
Where: Schweinfurth Art Center, 205 Genesee St. Auburn, NY
A Solo Show Of Mixed Media 3-D Collage
July 3rd-27th 2018
Opening Reception July 13th 6-8p.m.
June 17-25, 2017 Tokyo, Japan
267 Oxford St. Rochester, NY 14607 585 271 5885 September 9th through October 14th 2017 Gallery Notes : by James Hall Owner of the Oxford Gallery
Gallery Notes: Margery Pearl Gurnett
Probably no concept is more fundamental to the Post-Modern aesthetic than that of “appropriation”: the reuse of images and materials borrowed from other sources. And no concept has generated more controversy. The amalgamation of historical images by contemporary artists like Gerhard Richter and Anselm Kiefer has been lauded as complex social and cultural commentaries. The wholesale “borrowings” by artists like Richard Prince, on the other hand, have attracted charges of plagiarism and sparked numerous legal actions. The task confronting art critics and historians, copyright lawyers, and cultural anthropologists, therefore, is one of differentiating between the legitimate and the illegitimate uses of “appropriation,” and the idea that continually emerges in this discussion is that of “recontextualization.” Simply stated, “recontextualization” refers to the manner and extent to which materials borrowed from one context are reconfigured in a different context to assume different signification.
A fine example of “recontextualization” is the work of Margery Pearl Gurnett. Gurnett appropriates images from a variety of sources, including many of her own creation, incorporating them in new contexts with different significations. And the means by which this “recontextualization” is accomplished is glass. Layering semi-transparent image upon image under thin panes of transparent glass, the artist creates a composite image in which several images are perceived literally through each other. Perceiving the images simultaneously rather than serially changes the temporal dimension with which we apprehend them. In a traditional painting or collage, the eye moves over the flat surface reading each image or part of an image in sequence. In Gurnett’s work, the composite image is apprehended at once and seems to resonate with associations and multiple levels of meaning.
A motif which appears in various forms in many of Gurnett’s pieces seems to suggest the non-linear way in which her images work: the spiral or helix. As a symbol, the helix is fraught with significations. It reminds us, of course, of the double-helix-shaped DNA molecule, which lies at the heart of all living things. It is also associated with the mysterious Fibonacci Series, which scientists and mathematicians increasingly find as the basis of many forms in nature. In art, the Fibonacci Series has for centuries been associated with the ideal of the “Golden Section.” But to this writer, the spiral or helix recalls all those movies (Spellbound, Mirage ?, Vertigo, etc.) and television shows (Twilight Zone) of the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s in which a helix is used to suggest hypnosis or regression in time and memory: in other words, regression to a psychological space where meaning becomes fragmentary and associational.
The helix is an apt symbol of the way we respond to Gurnett’s images. We do not “read” them as such; we delve into them. Their meaning is not clear and rational; it is associational and suggestive. We feel that it exists only momentarily on the periphery of our understanding, somewhat like the apprehension of an image in a kaleidoscope. In some cases, the associations are of forms. In “Classic and Butterfly,” for example, the image reverberates with repeated “S” curves, while in “3 Star Monarch,” the form of the Monarch’s wings is duplicated by the fluting on the Corinthian column and by the low relief on the medallion. In other works, the associations are clearly psychological. The skipping children in “Childhood” are silhouetted against images suggesting both freedom and rhythm.
One of the most interesting associations involves variations in scale and perspective. In “Flatiron,” we encounter superimposed views of the Flatiron Building from various perspectives and in various levels of detail. “Go Deep,” moreover, requires that we do just that: delve ever more deeply into an object or image. Here the object is a tree, which we see in ever greater detail right down to its cellular structure. The image presents a conflation of macrocosm and microcosm. The point of these pieces, as of all of Gurnett’s work, seems to be that although we may see serially, we apprehend holistically, and our apprehension is rooted neither in a specific time nor a specific place.
Doubles and Doppelgänger's
May6th- June 17th, 2017
By Carl Mellor Posted on May 4, 2016
Schweinfurth exhibit displays multimedia artwork from NY artists.
Made in New York 2016, at Auburn’s Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center, is both sweeping and focused. It’s a large exhibition displaying works by 65 artists. Most live in Central or Western New York but others come from Albany, Brooklyn and other locales in our state.
This annual show, like its predecessors, has points of emphasis; this time, it’s collage and mixed-media works. There’s also interest in differing approaches to narrative. And Made in New York is part of an ongoing celebration of Schweinfurth’s 35th anniversary.
The exhibit presents Jeanne Beck’s “The Relics,” with pulled paper fastened by wire to leafed, antique frames. Margery Pearl Gurnett, an artist who often combines glass with other elements, goes all out with “Mesmerized.” It mixes two types of glass, paint, paper, images of a snake, bird, clock and other subjects. Artist Nicora Gangi created “Pathways (pain’s pathway to grace-fillness),” done with paper collage on archival paper.
“Mother’s Painful Joy,” by Norma Bliss, is an ambitious mixed-media work consisting of 30 squares united by the figure that appears on each of them. However, each square is decorated individually.
In terms of narrative, Pennie Brantley’s oil “Pathway to Knowledge” is both warm and evasive. Here a stairway illuminated by afternoon sunlight coming through large windows ends before the top, suggesting a personal journey.
Gail Hoffman’s “History Lesson #2” demonstrates her capacity for working small and skillfully. In a classroom setting, a Venus de Milo figure instructs a menagerie of tiny animals, including a lion, elephant and giraffe. The chalkboard streams video presenting images of humans interacting with animals in inane ways.
Scott Hermann’s “Street Scene” rejects a figurative approach. The people on this street are faint and fleeting as the artist plays with a digital print, gesso paper, pencil, pen and acrylic.
Holly Wilson’s “Surpassed by Viable Science.”
In past works, Kim Waale has explored environmental themes. In the Schweinfurth show, “Displace (Debris)” places a cigarette butt, rubber band, tiny sections of a branch and other items under a glass dome.
“All Seeing Eyes,” Jim Ridlon’s assemblage, mixes a poem, a rack, a bunch of tiny scissors, small pieces of brightly colored paper and objects that look like bulbs. This piece will challenge and puzzle viewers.
Made in New York also presents a diverse set of photos, surveying that medium in an indirect way. For example, Dewey Fladd’s “Repent,” with its straight-up view of a truck decorated with religious slogans, contrasts with Marna Bell’s “Luminous Journey 11,” which both depicts a landscape and reflects on landscape imagery.
Other interesting images include Bob Gates’ “River of Play,” part of a series looking at playground areas when people aren’t around, and Ryan Terhune’s “Baroda Noir,” with its portrayal of a train station in India. The latter photo concentrates not on the station or people waiting there but on the shadows right next to a train. In “Jummah Service, East London Mosque,” Robert Knight uses a long exposure, creating an illusion of worshipers in motion.
As in the past, Made in New York displays few sculptures. Look for Meg Beaudoin’s stoneware trio, “Three Seasons,” and Jack Elliot’s “Carnis,” which consists of scorched and unscorched wood.
The exhibition encompasses other noteworthy pieces: Maria Rizzo’s stark, incisive acrylic “Willow Tree”; Eric Shute’s “Equilibrium,” with its emphasis on form, lines and blue and red color; “Too Much and Too Little,” another fine charcoal-on-paper work by James Skvarch.
Made in New York 2016, selected by jurors Ann Clarke and John von MemorBergen, presents more than 70 artworks and has room for various media and styles. It’s an annual show that reflects choices made by a new set of jurors. And it’s an exhibition that provides fine exposure for artists from Syracuse, Rochester and throughout New York state.
The exhibit runs through May 22 at the Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center, 205 Genesee St., Auburn. It’s open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and free for children under age 12.
Schweinfurth will also hold a 35th anniversary celebration on Friday, May 6, 5 to 8 p.m. That event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 255-1553.