October 30 - December 3, 2020
McMaster Gallery hosts the SVAD Alumni Exhibition featuring the works of exceptional alumni of the School of Visual Art and Design: Jim Arendt, Ginny Merett, and Gina Moore. Inspired by the depth and complexity of familial and societal ties, the artists repurpose materials that can be easily discarded by many to create powerful, insightful, and deeply personal work.
(MFA, Art Studio, 2005)
“Making do” was a skill James Arendt learned growing up outside Michigan’s auto towns. It’s a concept of thrift and pragmatism that dictates you work with the materials at hand. He works with donated denim because it reminds him of the people he comes from, allowing him to explore the unraveling of economic systems on a personal scale. Jeans, born in the dust of the cotton field, made pliable by the sweat of the garment worker, and embedded with the fading of second shift evenings, remain supple enough.
Arendt's practice is rooted in understanding how we relate to labor. His close proximity to the manufacturing and agrarian landscapes of America, as well as the dramatic shifts in both of those sectors of our economy during his lifetime, have led him to continuously pursue an understanding of its people and craft. The cultural practices that unfurl as a result of those relationships taught Arendt strategies for crafting a working life that embraces wholeness and integrity as antidotes to estrangement from objects and one another.
(MA, Art Education, 1990)
Ginny Merett creates personalities using collage techniques and processes with recycled assortment of papers. Her work is familiar, sometimes campy, where every character has a unique disposition. It’s a mix of surrealism, and whimsy. She is inspired by her grandmother who never left home without lipstick. Merett finds ordinary faces and belongings interesting; and she is nostalgic for family gatherings, by women’s fashion in the early 1900’s and by personalities she meets day to day. Merett’s focus is on creating new characters, eye to eye contact, and the connection between you and the figures in my work.
Collage is tactile. Merett feels every piece of paper in several ways: tear, cut, glue, embellish. She plans and gathers her color palette from found papers like a painter gathers paint. Merett glues pieces of paper to fill in shape and outlines each shape to unify the piece.
(BFA, Painting, 1981; MFA, Painting/Fibers, 1985)
Initially, Gina Moore was formally trained as a painter, and always loved the tactile qualities of paint and canvas. Since obtaining her BFA and MFA Degrees in Painting, she has worked in textiles, illustration and graphic design. Historically, her work has always been nonobjective and formalistic, integrating the juxtaposition of shapes, colors and textures to create tensions of surfaces and other formal elements.
Moore’s current body of work is a part of her “Heredity Series”. It features works that are derived from vintage family photos, recapturing nostalgic memories and personal reflections. Group and individual portraits are rendered using mixed media and/or graphite on various found and repurposed objects/surfaces. Most pieces begin with a gouache under painting, and worked over with graphite and/or colored pencils. Some works are embellished with stenciled patterns, typography, and incorporate collage.