Viridian Artists is pleased to present an exhibition of outstanding art by five artists that Viridian is newly representing and 2 artists who are part of our artist alumni program. The exhibition continues from January 30 to February 24, 2018 with an opening reception on Thursday, February 1, 6-8pm.
New to the gallery’s ranks are Ellen Burnett and Mary Tooley Parker while Srividya Kannan Ramachandran, Toto Takamori and Ron Moore have all graduated from Viridian’s Affiliate Program.
So what are the “Common Threads” between these artists? Most importantly, they each share a 21st Century approach to their work, either in their use of material or in the way they approach their subject. Tooley Parker incorporates actual threads, while Burnett and Diamond each find the threads that connect the unique elements that then accumulate into a whole in their works. Ramachandran’s and Takamori’s art both evolve through layers of processing - Takamori’s in paint & Ramachandran’s in compute technology. Finally, Moore & Gerard share a fascination with more traditional approaches to paint and sculpture, arising out of spiritual motivations.
Ellen Burnett is an artist who uses objects that she sees to have “potential beyond their initial existence.” She creates assemblages from artifacts that have been collected, saved, stashed away or given to her with the words “I saw this and thought of you.” A rusted piece of something, a feather, a bone, a dead hard drive assemble and congregate until a conversation begins among them and a narrative unfolds a story that has never been told before.
Burnett was a graphic designer before turning full time to creating fine art and her precise compositions demonstrate her ability to uniquely blend the elements of texture, shape, balance and movement. Born in NYC to depression era parents, the artist has incorporated the frugality of those times into an art form that addresses “making something from nothing.” But just as importantly, the artist is upcycling and transforming the detritus of our 21st century culture of consumption into unique assemblages of its discards.
Mary Tooley Parker is a textile maker using textiles as paint and was awarded a 2015 Fellowship by the New York Foundation for the Arts. After a career in dance, and then in art production at Vanity Fair and GQ magazines, Mary Tooley Parker left New York City for a more rural environment. While there, she became interested in textiles of different forms, eventually focusing on the indigenous American folk art of hooking “rugs.” Her hooked artwork focuses on realistic interpretations of people and nature, whether from memories, dreams, or visual images.
Science has shown that a different part of the brain is stimulated when viewing textile art than when viewing fine art. Appealing to the senses, especially touch; textile art gives a feeling of warmth and familiarity before the brain even registers the visual image. Working in this simple medium affords Tooley Parker a strong connection not only to the fibers running through her fingertips, but also to the women who used fiber mediums to express themselves during difficult times. The artist carries this tradition into the contemporary art world by taking these rugs off the floor and onto the wall to be viewed as art.
Srividya Kannan Ramachandran came to Viridian as a Director’s Choice winner in the gallery’s 25th International Juried Exhibition. Though showing her photography at that time, her images in this show were entirely created by an Artificially Intelligent machine. Ramachandran’s creation of an AI artist – her alter artist-self - is a wave of the future we may all be forced to deal with down the road, but she does it with purpose. The artist states “Like a parent or teacher teaching art to a student, I trained the artificial brain (a network of neurons) in my own artistic style. After the training process is complete, the AI system is free to produce art, as it desires. The promise of imbuing a machine with creativity opens new vistas for “art” as we define and know it.” Not surprisingly, in her other life, she works as a data scientist concentrating on capital investments and marketing strategies.
Working in metal, California sculptor Ron Moore creates imaginative figures of female acrobats & jumping horses as well as ornate gates of iron. Since graduating from the California College of Arts & Crafts with a BFA, his art has been featured in Architectural Digest and is part of many private collections. When asked about the meaning behind his art, the artist says that on a personal level, he attempts to represent the inner struggles of trying to wrestle free from personal limitations. “Beyond that, to hopefully 'run and soar' with the spirit of artistic wildness, as long as time and inspiration allows.”
Toto Takamori’s tiny oil paintings on canvas evolve over months with layer upon layer of pigment using a “wet on wet” technique. Though his earlier paintings were realistic portraits, he has become involved with working totally abstractly in this series, infatuated with color & texture and the unique effects created with over 50 layers of pigment. In some cases he adds pieces of plastic, paper or metal to the surface to create an almost collaged relief of color. Takamori has begun to experiment with different combinations of color and translucency in order to alter the surface, akin to nature’s altering the surface of a rock. Tokyo-based, the artist has exhibited his work there since 2004 at numerous galleries, art fairs and foundations.
Kiffi Diamond and Barbara Gerard were each past Viridian Artists and return now as Alumni.
Like Burnett, Kiffi Diamond creates assemblages inspired by collecting detritus, old ephemera that she uses to represent people, animals and abstract spaces. She too feels the history of old things adding to the evocative story she is telling. The colors, textures and worn qualities appeal to her aesthetics while environmental concerns drive her to use and reuse existing materials. “Sometimes the results surprise me. Disturbing images emerge along with funny ones. I feel like a scientist studying evolution as my pieces grow and develop.” Diamond has been working in collage and assemblage since being introduced to it at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).
On her website, Barbara Gerard describes her art as “powerful but gentle.” She’s very involved with capturing in land and seascapes a sense of the spirituality of nature. A mixed-media artist, she often incorporates sand and stones in her painting, bringing to the work, the textures as well as the images of water and earth. Speaking about her art, the artist states that “exploring harmony with the sea though itself, the reflection of serenity. My nature emanates from land and water and it is inseparable from the totality of the sea.”