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Exhibition Opening: “Material Language” New Work by Jeralyn Victoria Mohr
May 22 @ 5:00 PM - 8:00 PMFree
NewStudio Gallery, in the Creative Enterprise Zone of St. Paul, announces Jeralyn Victoria Mohr’s first solo gallery exhibition, “Material Language.” The St. Paul artist introduces a new body of work utilizing a variety of quotidian materials—including recycled silk, coffee, soil, beads, and thread—to generate “paintings” that reveal or unearth a relic-like presence that challenges and re-contextualizes traditional concepts of domestic work and materiality in art.
The public opening of “Material Language” takes place from 5:00-8:00 p.m. Saturday, May 22, 2021, with an outdoor reception. Beverages will be served. Visitors (masks are mandatory) are invited into the gallery to experience the exhibition four to five people at a time. During the public opening, content about the exhibition will premiere on NewStudio Gallery’s Facebook and Instagram social feeds. The exhibition closes Saturday, July 10, 2021.
“Material Language” includes more than 15 works (various sizes and price points) on canvas, on paper, and in plaster. In addition to fabric, Mohr uses acrylic, spray paint, text, hand-made dyes, burlap, yarn, and water in her work.
“It’s the artist’s job to challenge traditions and systems,” Mohr says. “As a child, I spent most of my time being curious in the natural world; peeling apart bark washed up near the Red River, braiding grasses as if they were my own hair (and experiencing nature as our greater body), and opening up seed pods to examine them from the inside out. The time and space to explore instigated by boredom or loneliness has turned into curiosity and resilience.”
In “Material Language,” Mohr investigates media and texture to expand the notions of what “painting” means in 2021. In a new series of Earth Paintings, Mohr fabricated an artistic media using red soil from Sedona, Arizona, and Murrieta, California. In her Silk Paintings, Mohr explains, she uses silk up-cycled from saris, which she weaves, knots, stretches, and layers so the fibers’ history has a poetic connection to women, craft, ritual, and self-expression through adornment.
Similarly, Mohr’s Mended Paintings utilize cross-stitch, which historically is related to traditional, domestic work. The stitches in her paintings, Mohr says, “mend and heal, but also bind, tether, and connect. They provide texture, but are buried in fresh paint,” creating a textural topography of memory on the canvas.
Accessible yet capable of creating “aesthetic arrest”—the term Joseph Campbell used to describe the state we enter when encountering profound beauty—Mohr’s work challenges traditions, creates ambivalence, and invites contemplation. “2020 asked us not to wait,” Mohr reflects. “It asked us to look inward, and to shift and discard filler that distracts and no longer serves.” The body of work on exhibition in “Material Language,” she adds, “reimagines our prospects as we reflect on culture and create culture, and delve into all that now presents itself as opportunity.”
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