1. ALCHEMY: An Artists + Writers Initiative
Rose Netzorg and James Wilfrid Kerr Galley
Richmond Center for Visual Arts
February 16 – May 26
Exhibit Wall Text:
Below: A sampling of the works in the exhibit
Mindi K. Bagnall We Are All Connected, 2017
black walnut ink, watercolor
Many early alchemists sought to turn lead into gold. With a nod to the mismanagement that led to the Flint Water Crisis, We Are All Connected suggests a metaphorical transformation of gold into lead.
This work was made using homemade ink from the black walnut tree in my backyard.
Jana Hanka Dance of the Particles, 2016 salt-fired stoneware
The work of alchemy is about transmuting the crude material of human flesh into the refined substance of an awakened soul. Sometimes we need a jolt to get us started on that path and for me that wake up call was falling from a horse and undergoing a clinical death. I awakened a changed person and today, I celebrate that rude awakening with portraits of horses – sensitive, elegant souls with whom I commune across the species barrier. My installation represents my own becoming as something more refined by developing alongside the “other” — the non-human. The relationship between man and horse is ancient, beautiful, dangerous and also potentially enlightening.
These figures express my personal connection to the iconography and symbolism, the images, and ideas of the Alchemy experience, working with primal matters and looking for wisdom and immortality.
Bird Lady, 2017 clay, copper and steel, wooden spindles
This is the young woman in nature, holding an orb. She is young, still unformed.
Horned Woman, 2016 clay, deer horn, copper, wood
She is a figure of transformation, the embodiment of opposites, inspired by Jung : “Nothing can exist without its opposite; the two were one in the beginning and will be one again in the end.”
Sydnee Peters Stone Stories, 2017 pen and graphite
Through process, metaphors aligned for the imagery featured in my contributions to the Alchemy exhibition, book, and print suite.
As Project Director of an Initiative with considerable directions and demands, I discovered early on that I was performing a balancing act – like maintaining a campfire, spinning plates or balancing stones.
Elizabeth Kerlikowske, Annie Alchemy, mixed media
Alchemy begins at home – the earliest laboratory where we learn the rules, if we can break them, and if there’s a penalty.
Linda Rzoska We Are Stardust, 2017
graphite and oil pastel digitally layered, imaged onto archival paper with archival ink and painted with encaustic
We Are Stardust called me to create something that moves the viewer closer to the perception that he/she shares existence with stone, soil, water, all living things, plus all the elements that make up the universe. The composition includes a female figure surrounded and comprised of plant life. The viewer may see the figure as Cybele, Gaia, Eve, Lilith, the Virgin Mary, or any female figure that has appeared in various mythological/religious themes.
To reestablish and ancient connection with nature and the earth, it helps to consider how life originates and how it returns to its end. As the death of every star and every atom follows the pattern of renewal and loss – the fertile womb is part of the cycle – all things transform.
Autumn Brown, Industrial Wear #2, 2010
porcelain, sterling silver, steel, copper, bronze, quail eggshell
Transformation of an intangible thought into a physical object is a multifaceted process. Emotion sparks chemical reactions that order electrical pulses to drive muscles to work material and impress upon it the essence of the maker. The material, now infused with intentions, may further encounter reactions with earth, air, fire or water to arrive in existence outside of the human consciousness. Pure magic? Pure alchemy.
With the rise of automated machinery, a primal element of this alchemical transaction seems lost in translation. Industrial Wear #2 is the physical manifestation of a thought that has been steeped in reflections about the decline of direct human contact in an age of automation.