|New Work from Sacred Ground is an expressive collection of large-scale “paintings” that are essentially textile assemblages. Provincetown artist Muffin Ray transforms vintage quilt patches, found tapestries and other sumptuous yet cast-off textiles into broad fields of texture and color. She creates deep, mysterious surfaces soaked in resin, encaustic and oil-based media that preserve embroidered textures like primeval insects in amber. Then she juxtaposes areas of painting, frequently floral but sometimes wholly gestural, with the glazed and stained fabrics.
“All of the materials used in this work were salvaged from abandoned warehouses, dumpsters and basements,” Ray explains in a curatorial statement. Inhersurreptitious quest for ingredients she discovered a wide range of swatches and bolts; some resemble Victorian tin ceilings, while others are fancy embroidery or strips of lace.
Text, from favorite poems by the likes of Wendell Berry, Pablo Neruda, Ezra Pound, Sherman Alexis and Leonard Cohen leaves floating impressions of verbal designs in the layers of resins and urethanes.
|Like the patterns in the textiles, Ray’s painted flowers and buds hark back to Victorian design. Her flowers are reminiscent of the most delicate still lifes of Odilon Redon (1840-1916), or classic art nouveau motifs.
“I have been living and working in the high desert in Southern Colorado where magnificent landscape and daunting history of the original people of this land remain alive and evident. The experience has expanded and released me from the preconception that the universe revolves only around our own experience, or for that matter, the human species It has encouraged me to base my work from a vast, widened perspective of geographical and specific historical references that have touched me in some way. Western lore and spirit have smiled upon me. ” says Muffin Ray in a recent interview.
“Ray pushes technical boundaries to invent a hybrid art — part assemblage and part painting — that carries viewers down a meandering sensory stream. Her paint handling echoes the art-historical trends of the last hundred years, while her discarded, re-adapted textiles seem to bear the ghosts of the former lives they’ve touched.”
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