WORDPLAY: AARON STANSBERRY, GWEN MANFRIN, KENNA DOERINGER
“WORDPLAY”: KENNA DOERINGER, GWEN MANFRIN, AARON STANSBERRY
MARCH 2 – APRIL 2
FIRST FRIDAY RECEPTION MARCH 3, 5-8PM
In “Wordplay,” a juried show selected by writer and curator Terri Cohn, three mixed media artists create pieces that include words in their imagery. Each approaches the intertwining of image and text in a unique fashion.
Combining two passions of creating art and literature, Kenna Doeringer creates sculptural pieces, in one case a chess board, using text from Lewis Carroll, Charles Darwin and Dante. In watercolor and colored pencil works on panel, Gwen Manfrin depicts figures suspended in space, evoking the disorienting moments that force new leaps of faith. Aaron Stansberry creates abstract-calligraphic paintings by inscribing lyrics, poetry, quotes, and phrases into multiple layers of oil and cold wax, while using the canvas as a personal diary by recording thoughts and feelings as he works.
Partners Gallery is located at 335 N. Franklin Street in Fort Bragg and is open Wednesday through Monday 10 am to 5 pm and Sundays 10 am to 4 pm. 707 962-0233 http://www.partnersgallery.com>
Juror Terri Cohn is a writer, curator and historian in the Bay Area.
Wordplay features the work of Kenna Doeringer, Gwen Manfrin, and Aaron Stansberry, three mixed media artists who interweave images and objects with words. Each approaches the image/text relationship in unique ways, acknowledging the history of narrative art forms, the relevance of classic texts, and the potential of deconstructed narratives to upstage social norms.
Kenna Doeringer creates literature-inspired sculptural objects. For Dante’s Divine comedy, she has employed text from classic books—Dante’s Inferno, Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, and Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species. In each case she has utilized and reconfigured fragments of these well-known narratives into sculptural objects, compelling the willing viewer to reconsider their understanding of their meaning. In Through the Looking Glass, Doeringer has staged a face-off between a folded paper pawn and a bishop on a red and white chessboard, offering up multiple layers of potential meaning.
Interestingly, Gwen Manfrin’s Down the Rabbit Hole series of watercolor and colored pencil works on panel were also inspired by a Lewis Carroll novel, in this case Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Manfrin’s figures are often held in a tension between free-falling in space and being suspended in time, evoking varying palpable feelings and sensations. Some of the paintings intend specific experiences with image/text juxtapositions, like Disorientation, where Manfrin has written this word over two figures falling in space. In other works, like There is No Net, a partially cropped figure falling head first from above is described by Manfrin as “surrendering to the moment and letting go…fear and uncertainty… give away to curiosity and anxious expectation.” In such works, the viewer is offered the opportunity to complete the narrative.
Unlike the identifiable narratives that are central content of Manfrin’s and Doeringer’s works, Aaron Stansberry uses the language of abstraction to express lyrics, poetry, and phases that have personal meaning. His paintings consistently suggest fragments of landscape, over which gestural calligraphy dances in atmospheric planes of color. In some works, like Human Nature, the combination is resonant of Joseph Maillord Turner. In others, such as Echoes and Higher Ground, Stansberry’s calligraphic gestures become energetic fields of marks oscillating over serene water-infused landscapes, compelling in their eloquent quietude.
In the face of current social and political adversity, these works are deeply satisfying, urging us to reconsider historical texts and classic modes of rendering and representation. Doeringer, Manfrin, and Stansberry’s works also are a reminder that art offers the opportunity for feelings and reflection, and to rethink the dynamic, connotative potentials evoked by words and images in a doublespeak world.
For 17 years Partners Gallery in Fort Bragg has been a destination for contemporary art on the Northern California coast. The gallery is owned and managed by its 12 artists. Shows mounted monthly include one-person shows, invitationals, community and juried shows.
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