Opening Reception: Mary Stewart’s “Expanded Visions”

Gallery Talk starts at 6 p.m.; mixer is 7-9 p.m. Jan. 29

Any plans for the evening of Friday, Jan. 29 should include a stop at the Santa Fe Gallery in M-137, where the gallery mixer for Mary Stewart’s “Expanded Visions,” will be in high gear with refreshments by Blue Water Bay and music by the Santa Fe Jazz Trio.

The evening starts with a gallery talk by the artist from 6 to 7 p.m. Stewart will give an overview of her work for the last 15 years with special focus on the pieces in this exhibition. The mixer will then continue until 9 p.m.

Stewart, an artist, teacher, administrator and author of a top-selling textbook on design, currently lives in Tallahassee. Several of her recent works are based on her local landscape. The artist works in several media including digital photography, linoleum prints and mixed media. All are represented in this show. She uses her work to communicate complex ideas based on Greek and Buddhist philosophy.

Stewart tends toward muted colors or black and white tones. Most of the show’s approximately 27 pieces are part of five different series.

The Apocalypse series is a collection of linoleum prints where Stewart employs color and motion to such an extent that pieces have a graphic novel feel. Discovering how Stewart got all those different textures and colors into these turbulent prints is reason enough to go the Gallery Talk.

In “Entanglements’ #1,” Stewart alters the contrast on this digital photo so that a dense section of undergrowth takes on an abstract appearance. At times it looks like an ice-covered thicket.

“Entanglements #2,” has several photos embedded into a larger piece. Most of the components have a distorted aspect that make you feel as if you took off your 3D glasses while watching “Avatar.”

The Stormfury series contains four large-scale prints of nature under assault from climatic events such as floods or hurricanes. Stewart creates a tremendous sense of motion in “Stormfury #4,” a mixed-media piece that uses a photograph for its foundation. Branches and grass are stretched out horizontally in the racing wind. The intensity is such that it makes you want to hunker down and grab something to hang on to.

While this show will be up until March 5, why wait?

For more information about the show, please contact Gallery Director Jayné Grant at 395-5464.

Read the artist’s statement here