The Chazan Gallery at Wheeler is pleased to present Enigmatic Space, an exhibition featuring the work by Mara Metcalf, Kristin Street and Tina Tryforos, from October 21 to November 10, 2021.
Mara Metcalf often “draws'' with physical cuts of paper, cloth, or color instead of brushes and pencils. Her paper pieces might be held together with stitching or glue and can appear temporary. By taking fragments of the perceived world and recombining them, disparate parts can be salvaged. This process of adding and subtracting elements enables Metcalf to think with her hands! It alludes to life’s journey where edges don’t always meet, and borders are often crooked. It’s a celebration of the real real world, with all of its beauty and imperfection.
Mara Metcalf has been exhibiting professionally since completing her BFA at the Rhode Island school of Design (RISD) (’80) and an MFA from Tufts University/Museum School Boston (’88). Originally from Portland Oregon, Mara moved to the East Coast to pursue her art studies at RISD.
Recently Mara’s work was included in the 2019 Wheaton College Biennial, “Brush, Coat, Cover.” In 2018 she curated an exhibition of four artists who use their work to explore the fragile connection we have with nature. Entitled “de-natured”, it featured work in video, installation, sculpture and painting. In 2017 Metcalf had a solo show at Harper College, near Chicago, where she was invited to give an artist talk. The show was titled, “Between the Shadow and the Fence.
Additional recent exhibitions of Metcalf’s art include: “If it’s not you, it’s me”( Metcalf + Napolitano), at the Bannister Gallery, RI College, (2016): a solo show at the AS220 Project Space in 2015: “Arcadia” at Krause Gallery in the Moses Brown School and “On Nature” at Chazan Gallery in Providence RI. Metcalf’s paper collages are currently in the Boston Drawing Project at Carroll and Sons Gallery, Boston MA. Her work is in the collection of the RISD Museum in Providence RI.
For over 25 years Metcalf has been a member of the faculty at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She received the Excellence in Teaching Award in 2010 and was nominated again in 2015. Metcalf has been awarded a travel grant to study Giotto frescoes in Italy and a faculty enrichment grant to revisit famous waterfalls in Oregon. Metcalf has her studio and home in Providence RI.
The relationship between mark making, surface, space and scale has long been of interest to Kristin Street. This most recent work explores how those different components can be observed and manipulated to create illusion and a sense of spatial awareness. At the same time the repetitive nature of marks within each drawing generates an almost meditative state through the process of making.
These compositions grow, line by line, through an additive, spontaneous process into fictional worlds that vacillate between micro and macro scales, dark and light. This type of drawing inherently creates voids where the perception of real and imaginary space is easily blurred. Using light and shadow, depth of field, and other optical deviations, the positive and negative spaces become indeterminate.
As these works have developed over time, there has been a definite shift from looking at the spatial environment toward reflecting on the relationship of part to whole. By observing and manipulating surfaces, creating lines within a physical environment, the marks within each drawing explore space in its most subtle form. Even if they are "only" lines on paper, every mark depicts a front and back and divides light and dark, figure and ground. Drawing the shape of space through topographic explorations, mark-making takes on vigor, guiding the viewer to delve into the compositions and connect with not just the surface, but the richer dialogue happening through the layers and between each piece.
Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Kristin earned a BFA in Textiles from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1980 and in 2005, an MFA from The Maryland Institute College of Art, in Sculpture/Studio Art. She has consistently augmented her education through travel study grants and course work throughout the years. While some time has been spent promoting the efforts of other artists through curatorial work in the two galleries she established, The Krause Gallery in Providence RI and The Mill Gallery in Pawtucket, RI, Street has maintained a consistent exhibition schedule over the years, exhibiting in museums and galleries locally, nationally and internationally. She currently lives in Foster, RI.
Architectural Distortion is a medical term for a specific visual abnormality — it describes a hard to detect
group of cells that deform the structure of the breast, yet present no definite visible mass. This seems impossible - to detect something “just more than microscopic” and “sonically invisible”, yet still significant. Certain technologies allow us to see inside the body. Other techniques penetrate the flesh to facilitate the study and treatment of particular tissues or organs. Chemigrams are made by coating varnish onto exposed, outdated, black and white photo papers of
various types and finishes and processing them in
photographic chemicals. Black and white silver-based
photo paper turns a color when it is exposed to light for a long time. This color — a light-based reaction to the silver halide particles in the emulsion layer — varies greatly depending on the brand, surface and type of paper.
After exposing the paper to light, Tryforos etched into the applied varnish, and then rendered the image using darkroom developer and fixer. Switching back and forth between these chemicals creates the black and white marks that appear on top of the inherent color of the exposed paper. Tryforos made these pictures while enduring her own radiotherapy treatment and thinking about others in her world who had also been diagnosed with cancer, a disease named because its "finger-like spreading" recalls the shape of a crab. Tryforos was trying to understand how we carry and track disease, both corporeal and societal, in a way that is both intimate and technologically mediated. We map shifting, unstable, errant, and transient targets, then hope our precise, invasive, sometimes painful interventions will make them harmless. The body becomes a landscape of memories. Our scars make us who we are, however visible or
invisible they may be.
The urban surroundings of Tryforos’ childhood in Queens, NY continually inform her work. There, nature seemed mediated and compromised by human intervention – including her own. Tryforos explores the complicated relationships people have with the natural world. Her photographs are most often quiet comments on the disquieting evidence of how humans are playing with our planet.
Her archive includes images made with plastic and traditional film cameras, pinholes, alternative processes, and a variety of digital photography tools that Tryforos uses as she moves through the world.
Tina Tryforos is a photographer, bookmaker, and educator. She makes her home in Rhode Island where she teaches photography and digital art.
3PM to 6PM Mondays through Fridays.
11AM to 4PM Saturdays
12 to 4PM Sundays.
(And by appointment)
There is no admission charge.
Liz Kilduff (Director)
Elena Lledo (Assistant Director)