Throughout the life of Cheryl McGinnis Gallery, our primary interest has been to engage collectors and patrons with a deeper look at the artist’s process by hosting interactive gallery talks, artist studio tours, and Art-E, an educational program for children and adults. As one of the first contemporary art dealers to offer this dialogue, our mission is to expand this conversation. We will open our 2011 season by launching Cheryl McGinnis Projects, a new series of process-oriented installations with related experiential events and workshops that take the artist and viewer outside of the traditional gallery space and into the space and mind of the artist.
To introduce our first pop-up space, we are delighted to partner with Manhattan’s Fashion Center Business Improvement District and Fashion Center Space for Public Arts Program with Hypergraphia: Gwyneth Leech, The Cup Drawings, an installation of 300 plus drawings on upcycled take-out paper coffee cups in the Fashion Center window space at 215 W. 38th Street. With our history of representing work about domestic environment, it seems fitting to begin here. Since people are no longer tethered to homes and offices due to the rapid advancements in wireless and computer technology and the nonstop pace of 21st century life, this exhibit explores how, instead of giving up that domestic sensibility, women create a new one wherever they find themselves. Art integrates with life on the go as passers-by, many with their own take-out beverage in hand, will experience the installation of cups growing and changing each day. The installation will be on view Monday to Friday from 9:00am – 5:00pm, and Leech will sit in the window from 11:30am to 1:00pm drinking coffee or tea and drawing on cups. Inspired by the nearly extinct art of letter writing, an integral extension of this project is Leech’s blog, Gwyneth’s Full Brew, which can be followed on-line at http://www.gwynethsfullbrew.com featuring cup drawings along with “vivid New York slice of life stories about the vagaries and incidental pleasures of being an artist in this crowded, expensive, crazy and inspiring city.”
With Leech’s diverse background in painting, video, ceramics, calligraphy, wood engraving and other printmaking techniques, the cup series began as a casual outgrowth of her compelling urge to draw wherever she is. One day, without a sketchbook handy, Leech used what was available in the moment. The curved form, challenge of working with existing shapes, colors, and text, and the infinite possibilities of expressive variation became as addictive as the caffeinated beverage the cup once contained. In addition to raising issues of consumerism, post-consumer waste and environmental concerns the cups are essentially about what drawing is: a conversation between mark making and surface. Building, layering and obliterating through memory, observation and working from within, this meditative process begins with an initial response to each cup and takes on a life of its own. Leech’s range of subject has no boundaries. Her interest in fractal patterning and the fragmenting and meandering of memory and life itself offers an expansive, flowing, bottomless well of imagery, from figurative cityscapes, flora, fauna, mythological winged creatures, and dance performance to abstracted aerial marsh views, biomorphic forms and purely non-objective design. The list is endless because the work is infinite and ongoing. Unlike working on a flat plane, drawing in the round also affords a connectivity of shapes and continuous movement. Before any drawing begins, Leech records the date, location and related circumstances on the bottom of each cup after it has been rinsed. Combining traditional and non-traditional materials including Faber Castell brush pens, gel pens, white-out pens, Sumi ink, oil or acrylic paint with encaustic and/or polymer varnish with ultra-violet protection, Leech transforms the ubiquitous coffee cup into a chance to hold her imagination and her New York City in the palm of your hand.
Continuing our commitment to arts education, we will host seminars for adults at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and provide drawing workshops for children with Gwyneth Leech at our gallery space on Saturdays. We feel strongly that the more we expose children to art, not just the making of art in school, but to visual thinking in museums and galleries, and working with professional artists during existing exhibits, the better chance we have of creating future generations of cultured, critical thinking adults, which is desperately needed in a time when young people are spending hours surfing the net , texting and watching reality television. Workshop and seminar schedules will be available at www.cherylmcginnisgallery.com, www.artenlightenment, and on the Cheryl McGinnis and Art E Facebook pages.
Gwyneth Leech earned her BA at the University of Pennsylvania and a BFA and Post Graduate DA at Edinburgh College of Art, UK. The recipient of numerous awards and grants, including a Glasgow District Council’s European Capital of Culture Project Grant, Scottish Arts Council Time Based Media Award, University of Colorado’s President’s Fund Grant and Elizabeth Greenshields Memorial Award, Leech’s work resides in important private and public collections such as the American Museum, Bath, UK; British Broadcasting Corporation; Dumfries and Galloway Regional Council, UK; Edinburgh City Art Galleries; Royal Bank of Scotland; Strathclyde University, UK and the Theater Royal, Glasgow. Museum shows and gallery exhibitions include the Southwest Minnesota State University Art Museum, Marshall, MN; La MaMa La Galleria, NYC; Ayr Art Gallery and Museum, UK; Kilmarnock Art Gallery and Museum, UK; Dundee Museum of Natural History, UK; and the Gallery of Contemporary Art, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, CO