The Chazan Gallery at Wheeler is pleased to present a new exhibition featuring the work by Susan Matthews, Magaly Ponce and Anna Shapiro, from October 20 to November 9, 2022. There will be an opening reception for the artists on October 20 , from 5:00 - 8:00 pm.
All are welcome.
Susan M. Matthews started experimenting with a rug-tufting machine in the midst of the pandemic. She was drawn to the tactile nature and potential vibrant colors of rug making, as well as its domestic and utilitarian qualities. Matthews wanted to combine hard yet fragile ceramic elements with the soft, durable yarn. As she worked, she thought more about the context of a rug. In particular, she became interested in the three dimensional space a rug creates, and the idea of a rug as a frame, pedestal or place-to-belong. Matthews also became curious about the implications of the ability or inability to walk on the rug, the possible careless violence of stepping on the “art” as well as the potential for intimacy- sitting or lying on the rug. Matthews continues to seek to create a balance, or battle, between the familiar and the unfamiliar.
Susan Matthews is a multidisciplinary artist living and working in Rhode Island. She makes sculpture and other things, mostly out of ceramic and fiber and spends an inordinate amount of time thinking about the meaning of objects. Her work has been shown at the University of Rhode Island, AS220, the Newport Art Museum, the Jamestown Arts Center, and Hera Gallery, along with other venues. In addition to making art, Susie is opening an art exhibition space called OVERLAP in Newport RI next winter. She received her MFA in ceramics from RISD in 2004. More of her work can be found at susanmmatthews.com.
In the long isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic, Magaly Ponce Magaly Ponce found an unlikely opportunity for self- reflection that helped her to understand and then overcome a deeply ingrained fear of solitude. Part of this she attributes to her upbringing. Ponce grew up in a highly populated area of Chile, in an intergenerational group that at its peak numbered eight people, all living in a small apartment. High sensory stimulation was their norm. Warm weather allowed her community a vibrant outdoor social life, and her memories of that time stand in stark contrast to the cold, isolated, and car-based Rhode Island and Southern Massachusetts where Ponce now works and resides. The pandemic taught Ponce to find company in isolation, and to rediscover pleasure and playfulness in art-making. During this period, she challenged herself to continue to explore the watercolor medium. The soothing expression of watercolor represents the quietness and intimacy of the human condition.
For the Chazan Gallery show, Ponce will present large-scale watercolors featuring nude portraits posed in isolation that appear to reflect on, or be mesmerized by, objects and their function. The display consists of a diptych 55x72 inches in size each. The watercolor practice started as a travel companion in 2017 while Ponce was teaching abroad and has steadily increased in size since 2017. The goal is to provide an intimate, uninterrupted viewing experience to appreciate the subtle and thoughtful color overlaps inherent to the watercolor medium.
This artwork was possible thanks to the Faculty and Librarian Research Grant, Center for the Advancement of Research & Scholarship at Bridgewater State University.
Magaly Ponce is a video and installation artist born in María Elena, a mining village in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. Ponce studied Graphic Design at Universidad de Valparaíso, Valparaíso, Chile. After graduation she received a Creative Video Grant awarded in Latin America by the Rockefeller, MacArthur and Lampadia Foundations, followed by a Creative Video Grant awarded by Fundación Andes. Two years later, she graduated with an M.F.A degree thanks to a two-year Fulbright grant and a Syracuse University fellowship.
Ponce’s work has been exhibited locally, nationally, and internationally. Ponce is currently a Full Tenured Professor, teaching Three-Dimensional Design in the Art and Art History Department at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts.
Anna Shapiro’s artworks in this exhibition were initiated during a time of accelerated change. For Shapiro the past 5 years have been a shifting dynamic within the personal, the social and the political arenas, and then came the pandemic. The completion of these works in two and three dimensions reflects that tumult. It is process based, examining habits, awareness of one’s environment, and a need for some calm and connection. Each of these pieces formalize accumulations of mundane and discarded items, some found, some personal, gathered, re-worked, punctuated by words and stitches. Although the works differ in their methods and materials, each piece embodies reflections on what it means to come full circle and exist in an absurd and non-linear arrangement. These are narratives, presented abstractly, containing fury hidden in delicate beauty.
Anna Shapiro has sought a life full of experiences. She graduated with a BS in Geology (Tufts 1995) and an MFA from the Maine College of Art (2000). When the river of creativity gets dammed up during the demands of life, she creates retreats of a few days to allow it to flow again. She has a long history with the outdoors, ecology, craft, metal arts and study of Eastern culture. She has “roughed it” in the North Woods on extended wilderness trips and as a ranger at Acadia National Park (1988-2000). She has run art spaces in Boston MA and Providence RI (2000-2009), studied Zazen with Dogens and Lamas, poured hundreds of cups of tea and has loved watercolor since she studied it with Gladys Nilsson at the School of the Institute of Chicago (1991). Her passion for textiles and quilting comes from the distaff side of her family. Her experiences connecting with quilters and viewing exhibits honoring the art and politics of quilting align with her inner draw to thread and yarn as a fine art material. Her discovery of the fierceness of iron casting and metalworking further inform her feminist approach to art, culture and life. She has exhibited extensively throughout New England and abroad and has been awarded local and regional cultural grants and residencies.
Please note that the Chazan Gallery requires visitors to be fully vaccinated and boosted.
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)