Jaynie Crimmins, Paula Overbay, Liz Quizgard, & Andra Samelson
Art and nature have always gone hand in hand. It is hard to think of one without the other. In recognition of this, our first exhibition commences on the conclusion of the one-hundredth anniversary of the Scottish mathematical biologist and classicist, Sir D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson’s On Growth and Form. “… if we consider the wonders of a limestone cavern which a filtering stream has filled with stalactites, we soon perceive that … we have begun with an initial system of very slight complexity, whose structure in no way foreshadowed the result, and whose comparatively simple intrinsic forces only play their part by complex interaction with the equally simple forces of the surrounding medium.” In this brief passage Thompson captures for us the magic of a simple cell and the complexity within which it comes about. When we look at cells we see the patterns and structures that compose them. Each section, each part grows in response to the next. Following a sequence of internal and external responses we arrive at the final form.
Each of the four artists represented here employs a systematic approach that can neither predetermine nor know its final outcome. It is in the process of making that each arrives at their final state. The forms determined by the action, the action precipitated by each previous action. One moment responds to the next.
Uniquely, each artist’s practice stems from a relatively different intention. Using recycled flyers that arrive in her mail, Jaynie Crimmins creates “alternative narratives from quotidian materials. Reconfiguring the ordinary and overlooked aspects of our daily existence.” Paula Overbay notes that her “images are influenced by cells in a petrie dish, the murmurations of birds, the migrations of butterflies, star constellations and especially our mercurial weather.” The heavens on a molecular and metaphysical level propel the work of Andra Samelson whose work “explores the relationship of microcosm and macrocosm, the celestial and terrestrial.” Liz Quisgard asserts the overt role of patterning in her work when she notes, “We all understand a row of triangles, a strip of squares, an arrangement of circles and swirls. No need to ask their meaning. They simply are what they are. They speak to us universally and without apology.”
For an artist, the act of making is the act of inquiry; hands, eyes, and mind unite with matter. The need to organize, to categorize, is part of our nature. We parse things in order to understand them. We group seemingly like things together to gain a sense of order. Patterns arise much like in a murmuration of birds. We’ve all witnessed it overhead, that magical moment when an entire flock of birds suddenly swoop and reverse direction. It is as though the bird out in front has just yelled to the rest of the flock, “Quick, turn around, now!” In fact, what has happened is all the birds follow the same set of rules, “if they are too close, they must back off; if they are too far away, they must catch up.” They all seek the same optimum distance one from the next on all sides. In doing so they seemingly move as a unit. They follow a system. Crimmins, Overbay, Samelson, and Quisgard all follow a system, each uniquely her own yet firmly rooted in the greater world tying us all together.
On Growth and Form – 2017
About the Artists:
Paula Overbay was born in Longview WA and resides in Brooklyn NY. She attended the Pacific Northwest College of Arts in Portland OR and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Printmaking and Painting in 1978. In 1980 she received a grant to attend Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh PA graduating with a Masters of Fine Art in Printmaking. She then taught Conceptual Design and Drawing at Carnegie Mellon University and Printmaking at the Pittsburgh Center for Arts and Crafts. She began showing in university and New York Galleries and received grants from the Pennsylvania State Council of the Arts. Her work is in public collections in New York, San Francisco, Portland, Ossaka, Honolulu and Denver and she has had many residencies.
Andra Samelson is a multi-media artist whose work explores the relationship of microcosm and macrocosm, the celestial and terrestrial. Originally from Denver, Colorado, Samelson currently lives and works in both New York City and Delhi, NY. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College and is a recipient of fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Corporation of Yaddo, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Samelson’s work has been exhibited extensively in galleries and museums throughout the United States and Europe and her public artwork, commissioned by New Jersey Transit, is permanently on view at the Hudson Bergen Light Rail’s Second Street Station in Hoboken, NJ.
Liz Quisgard’s work has appeared in over 45 solo exhibitions at museums around the country. Born in 1929, her work has been commissioned around the US, including in Atlanta, Richmond, Baltimore and by the Libyan Mission to the United Nations in New York. Her work is in a long list of collections, both public, private and at the museum level. Included are, Datalogix, Valhalla, NY; Candian Imperial bank of Commerce, NYC; Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, MD; American Airlines Sabre Group of Dallas, TX; and Coca-Cola Company of Sao Paolo, Brazil. Museum collections she is included in are: Museum of Contemporary Artt, Gore, New Zealand; Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN; Fordham University, NYC; University of Arizona Museum, Tucson, AZ; and Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. The list goes on! Quisgard lives and works in New York City.
Jaynie Gillman Crimmins, a Brooklyn based artist, is interested in creating alternative narratives from quotidian materials. She currently works with the promotional mailings she receives – most of which are difficult to recycle because the inks have high concentrations of heavy metals. Reconfiguring the ordinary and overlooked aspects of our daily existence, her intimate pieces use an economy of means and restraint of process, inspired and influenced by Ruth Asawa’s practice and work. Crimmins holds two degrees in Art Education – a BS from the State University College at Buffalo and MS from the College of New Rochelle, with a minor in Art Therapy.
About Our Curator Elizabeth Mead
Elizabeth Mead’s sculpture, drawings, and photographs have been exhibited across the U.S. as well as in Iceland, Italy, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Portugal, Australia, and England. She has designed theatrical productions with theater companies across the U. S. including work with the internationally acclaimed, Tony award winning Theatre de la Jeune Lune. She has been a visiting artist and artist in residence at numerous distinguished institutions including The Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London, England (2001, 2002, 2003, 2013), Youkobo Art Space,Tokyo, Japan (2002-03), Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota (2002, 2004), Pacific Northwest College of Art (1994, 2000), Southern Methodist University (1993,1997), Burren College of Art, Co. Clare, Ireland (1995). Elizabeth Mead has curated 16 exhibition including 4 museum exhibitions in London, Dallas, and Williamsburg. She is Professor of Art at The College of William and Mary.