Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Cape Girardeau artist Mary Robbins

by Leah Bernhardt

Art Saint Louis staffer Leah Bernhardt recently interviewed Cape Girardeau, Missouri-based artist Mary Robbins, who exhibited two artworks in Art Saint Louis' recent "Rabbit Hole" exhibit (August 5-September 7). The works that were featured in the "Rabbit Hole" exhibit by Mary were Nurture. 2017. Mixed Media Sculpture, 10.5”x10”x9” and Emanations: Reaction. 2017. Mixed Media on Paper, 17”x21”.

From her Cape Girardeau, Missouri home base Mary Robbins creates art as it is "a valuable daily presence in my personal life. I try to create something everyday whether it is a small post-it note sketch, or working to complete a larger work."

Since Mary's pieces seem to be crawling from an unknown destination I asked about her process:

Mary Robbins. Nurture. 2017. Mixed Media Sculpture, 10.5”x10”x9”.

"Sculpture: Creating Nurture was a process of discovery and observation. I created the smaller sculpture initially. I let the material work with my intuition in order to discover the form. The smaller form felt very vulnerable. It was almost as if it were an underdeveloped version of the unknown species it belonged to. I immediately felt that it should be part of a larger overall sculptural composition and so I then worked to create the larger form.

Each sculpture that I create becomes it’s own “Rabbit Hole”, because each one brings with it a new experience and expression of the materials. I enjoy creating sculptures like this because I value the feeling of creating something that is unfamiliar. I feel that I access and express a part of myself that can not be experienced in any other way. Each sculpture is a personal leap within myself and creative discoveries are brought outward. The artwork becomes the record of the experience of going into those internal emotional, mental, and spiritual places.  

Mary Robbins. Emanations: Reaction. 2017. Mixed Media on Paper, 17”x21”.

Painting: Emanations: Reaction was created in a way that was very similar to the idea of following a interesting sight towards an unknown destination. The painting began with color. I started with intuitive painting that was loosely planned with regards to size and final composition. I carefully considered the chosen colors.

After the painting layers were complete, I studied the overall composition and followed my intuition in creating the hand drawn layers. I feel that the hand drawn layers are a type of recording of the emotional responses I feel in relationship to the color. The paintings and drawings are meditative spaces (Rabbit Holes) that I become completely enveloped within."

You can view highlights from Art Saint Louis’ “Rabbit Hole” exhibit in our Facebook album here.

Art Saint Louis is located at 1223 Pine Street, downtown St. Louis, MO. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday 7 a.m.-5 p.m. & Saturday 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Free & open to the public. 314/241-4810.  On view next in the Gallery is "The Golden Hour," September 16-October 26, 2017. Free closing reception Saturday, October 21, 5-7 p.m.

Leah Bernhardt is an Administrative Assistant at Art Saint Louis.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

“Spectacle and Leisure in Paris: Degas to Mucha” at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum

by Tola Porter

Georges Meunier (French, 1869–1942), Folies-Bergère, Loïe Fuller, 1898. Lithograph, 48 x 33" (image). Collection of Mary Strauss. © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.

The past needs a storyteller. In the “Spectacle and Leisure in Paris: Degas to Mucha” exhibition at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum located on Washington University’s Danforth Campus in St. Louis, MO, the fascinating story of Paris at the turn-of-the-century is told. That era hungered for, and rejoiced in, leisure and the spectacles that accompanied it: the bawdy café-concert, the fantastical dances of Loïe Fuller, the invention of cinema, the speed of the racetrack in the Bois de Boulogne, strolling on Baron Hausmann’s newly-constructed broad boulevards in order to see and be seen. More traditional cultural leisure is also represented in the show including opera, theater, and ballet, indicating that popular entertainments mingled with the fine arts in a layered cultural city-scape.

Alphonse Mucha (Czech, 1860–1939), Médée (Medea), 1898. Lithograph, 81 x 29 1/4" (image). Collection of Mary Strauss.

The exhibition design features several tall triangular elements that populate the gallery space; they stand in for the Morris columns that were used in the late 1800’s throughout Paris to display posters. The posters by Toulouse-Lautrec, Chéret, Pal (Jean de Paleologu), Mucha, and Meunier represent that innovative and ephemeral medium that democratized fine art and brought it to the streets of Paris. The arrangement of the triangular ‘columns’ allows the visitor to stroll through the show like a Parisian flaneur.

Jules Chéret (French, 1836–1932), Folies-Bergère, La Loïe Fuller, 1893. Lithograph, approx. 48 x 34". Samuel B. & Charles B. Edison Theatre, Washington University in St. Louis. Gift of Mary Wickes in memory of her mother and father, 1973.

Prints, pastels, and film clips are also represented, helping to tell the larger story of progressive modernism happening at that time. The art of Pierre Bonnard, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Pablo Picasso, and others reveal the force of urban modernity that inspired the desire for illusion and spectatorship, and technological advances that pushed the arts towards the moving image.

Pierre Bonnard (French, 1867–1947), Le canotage (Boating), from Album d’estampes originales de la Galerie Vollard (Album of Original Prints from the Galerie Vollard), 1896–97. Color lithograph, 16 7/16 x 22 7/16". St. Louis Art Museum, Museum Purchase, 31:1942. © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.

Several key loans from St. Louis private collections enhance the exhibition and the sense of local pride. An accompanying catalog is published by the Kemper Art Museum, edited by curator Elizabeth C. Childs, Etta and Mark Steinberg Professor of Art History and Chair, Department of Art History & Archaeology, with essays by Childs, Colin Burnett, assistant professor of film and media studies; and graduate students in the Department of Art History & Archaeology in Arts & Sciences.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1864–1901), Divan Japonais, from the series Les Mâitres de l'Affiche (Masters of the Poster), 1893, published 1896. Lithograph, 15 3/4 x 11 1/2". Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis. Gift of Melissa Henyan Redler, 1981.


Spectacle and Leisure in Paris: Degas to Mucha” is on view at the Kemper Art Museum through May 21, 2017.  The Museum is located on Washington University’s Danforth Campus, near the intersection of Skinker and Forsyth Boulevards. Regular hours are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. daily except Tuesdays and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. the first Friday of the month. The Museum is closed Tuesdays. For more information, call 314/ 935-4523; visit kemperartmuseum.wustl.edu or follow the Museum on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.
Tola Porter is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Washington University in St. Louis.