Mary DeVincentis, Jackie Shatz and Mary Tooley Parker
September 2 - October 17, 2021
For immediate release
Boston, August 5, 2021 - LaiSun Keane is pleased to present a three-person exhibition titled Harbinger featuring New York based artists Mary DeVincentis, Jackie Shatz, and Mary Tooley Parker on view from September 2 to October 17, 2021.
The word “harbinger” is used here to signify what our hope for the future entails and reinforces one of our gallery missions - to provide a platform for contemporary art by women working in diverse mediums of art. We are immensely proud to launch our fall program with this exhibition. These veteran artists work with varied approaches to painting, sculpture and fiber art, and share commonalities in their approach to story telling which is informed by psychoanalysis, fantasy and reality.
Mary DeVincentis grew up in an image-rich household full of art books and artwork. She learned to retrospect her inner space in paintings. Her experience studying and practicing Tibetan Buddhism profoundly influenced her. In addition, some of the core concepts of Buddhism, such as impermanence, emptiness, interdependence, and the origins of suffering as arising from attachment, aversion and ignorance often show up in her works in an allegorical form. When they encounter these works, viewers can sense the intimacy while knowing that they are welcome to approach the work from their own individual perspective and sensibility. DeVincentis received her BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD, and Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Printmaking, St. Martins College of Art, London, UK. She has exhibited extensively in the USA and Europe.
Jackie Shatz's abstracted ceramic figuration is inspired by images from literature, including natural history, fairy tales, and mythologies. Historical references such as deities from ancient civilizations meld with the artist's unconscious, creating a sense of otherworldliness. The fluidity of the structure and the ambiguity of the shape allow a space of dialogue between the artist and the audience. Here, having mastered the hybrid but coherent form, Shatz uses her sculptures to record the fleeting moments and ever-changing status in life. Shatz received both her BFA and MFA from Hunter College, New York. She is the recipient of many awards, notably National Endowment for the Arts, Individual Artist Fellowship, and Gottlieb Foundation Individual Support Grant.
Mary Tooley Parker's fiber artworks focus on the interpretations of people and nature, drawn from memories, dreams, or reality. They range from representations of New York everyday street scenes to individuals who inspire Tooley Parker. For example, Gee's Bend Quilter, explores the artists behind the tradition of rural women in Alabama who put themselves, their ideas, and their aesthetics into every inch of their quilts. Tooley Parker’s background in the creative field of fashion publication helped hone her eye for color and composition. Her spectacularly unique color schemes endow the works with remarkable exuberance and vibrance. Tooley Parker received her BFA in Dance from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She is the recipient of multiple awards and fellowships and has recently exhibited in London and Denmark.
An Opening Reception will be held on Friday, September 3, 2021, from 5-8 pm. For more details and the exhibition checklist, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do the artists think about their fellow exhibiting artists' work?
Jackie Shatz by Mary Tooley Parker
Ethereal is the first word that comes to mind to describe the work of Jackie Shatz in “Harbinger.” These small, floating pieces defy the connotations of sculpture. Instead of the earthbound, weighted, solidity that sculpture is generally associated with, Jackie’s figures and shapes seem to be otherworldly. They hover, barely touching the wall, temporarily suspended there as if they will flit away like some elfish sprite, if you move.
Jackie’s background in painting carries over into the color and gesture of these sculptures. And their diminutive size (under 12 inches) draws the viewer in closer for a private conversation, encouraging curiosity and wonder. Their amorphous shapes hint at familiar things—a horse? a girl? a cloud? I’m not sure. And I am free to imaginatively peruse the possibilities. Whatever I see, or they may be, their uplifting spirit and beauty bring inspiration and hope. Harbingers of delights to come.
Mary DeVincentis by Jackie Shatz
“Friend, be very sure
I shall be better off with plants that share
More peaceably the meadow and the shower.
Soft rains will touch me, - as they could touch once,
And nothing but the sun shall make me ware.”
Mary’s paintings speak to the duality of nature and of human experience. What is pastoral and bucolic on the surface requires further investigation, similar to the way the unconscious functions in relation to consciousness, or a dream state relative to waking life. Her paintings achieve serenity and otherworldliness while never forgetting the burden of what pins us as humans to earth. Her paintings suggest a split in the unconscious as something mysterious, beautiful, and ephemeral while simultaneously implying the weight of our bodies in space. Mary DeVincentis uses animals in her paintings the way Egyptians employed animals in their sculptures, wall paintings and hieroglyphics - as concrete visual symbols. They contain many layered meanings and connections - almost as if they embody various aspects of the life force itself. These paintings question what it means to be human. Does our humanity reside in our abilities to commune with the unconscious? Is human consciousness that disparate from the abilities of snow, wind, tree branches, a cat? Mary’s paintings suggest that all forces of nature have much more in common than we consider in our day to day lives. Sometimes these forces can even defy gravity, achieving a visual narrative that feels both familiar and unexpected.There is a sense of movement bounding into the unknown- an implication of psychological growth and movement into the future; or an undifferentiated sense of time. Above all there is a poetic beauty and an acknowledgement of the beauty of the world and its expression in the distinct language of art.
Mary Tooley Parker by Mary DeVincentis
Just as an embryo contains the DNA of both ancestors and generations yet to be born, Mary Tooley Parker’s vibrant textile compositions embody the past, present and the future through the process of their creation and manifestation as works of art. She draws upon a deeply personal iconography to depict moments from her past and present as a way of honoring her life experiences and bringing them forward in time. Contemporizing the centuries-old craft of rug hooking as her primary expressive medium, Mary honors the tradition of the many rug makers, quilters, embroiderers and other American craftswomen as artists in their own right.
Her method of working employs the rhythmic, repetitive and meditative practice of pulling single loops of brightly hued fabric one by one through a framed backing to ultimately create the entirety of each piece. The phrase “every stitch counts” comes to mind as a metaphor for how in the largest sense, each individual being, whether human, flora or fauna, plays an essential role in the dance of the universe. This eternal dance is what one experiences upon encountering Tooley Parker’s work. The eye toggles between perceiving the entire piece as a quantum-like field of dimensional particle/waves and experiencing the subject matter of the piece, wherein background and foreground, animate and inanimate aspects have equal weight and presence. It is work that deeply engages the mind, the heart and our senses simultaneously, and which offers us respite from the ordinary boundaries of time and space.