TRANSMUTATION AT THE LINDA MATNEY GALLERY
As the fall approaches, the Tidewater Peninsula region’s seasonal change will coincide with an innovative contemporary art exhibit at Williamsburg’s Linda Matney Gallery. John Lee Matney, curator and gallery director, has entitled the exhibition Transmutation, and features the work of three artists: Christi Harris, Ryan Lytle, and Shaun C. Whiteside. Transmutation is an exhibition about the process of art-making as much as it is about the changing of material forms and offers a dynamic display of playful and aesthetically rich mediums.
Christi Harris has large scale paintings reproducing the gestural, glossy brush strokes seen in a painter’s palette. Her paintings offer an almost trompe l’oeil effect, so that the paint itself appears tactile to the touch. The palette of the painter that she simulates is itself a place of process, a location of the mixing of pigments where the painter dabs and stretches the medium in the practice of completing a painting. The palette itself is also a thing of beauty, as Harris demonstrates.
The exhibition displays an installation of colorful, animated cicadas in Ryan Lytle’s “Emergence.” With their bright red eyes, large green wings, and soft white bodies made of dense fabric, the cicadas arise from the dead shells of their former selves shaped with Home Depot plastic bags, further demonstrating the connection between construction and deconstruction of material as change occurs. Lytle explains that cicadas symbolize “transformation, rebirth, and immortality.” With some cicadas having a wingspan of six feet wide, the installation is a vibrant imaginative space for viewers to explore.
Shaun C. Whiteside is influenced by abstract expressionist Robert Motherwell. His paintings offer rich veils of color, such as deep purples, warm browns, and cool grays. Whiteside applies his acrylic paint with great control in forming the layers of colorful splashes, and at the same time lets the paint assume a character of its own. Whiteside has shown his work internationally and is the recipient of the 2011-2012 Virginia Museum of Fine Arts fellowship.
Transmutation will run from September 10-October 29, 2016 at the Linda Matney Gallery. Whiteside will give a gallery talk at the closing reception on October 29th. The Linda Matney Gallery is open Wednesday-Saturday, 10:30am-12pm, 2-5pm, and by appointment