The William Ris Gallery is thrilled to present FORMS & FIGURES highlighting the creative energy of nine women artists -- Chris Ann Ambery, Deborah Brisker Burk, Shawn Ehlers, Madison Fender, Jan Guarino, Jennifer Hannaford, Margaret Minardi, Anne Sherwood Pundyk, and Susan M. Saunders. On view from March 16 through April 14, 2019.
It is without coincidence that the FORMS & FIGURES exhibition will be opening in the month which celebrates both International Women’s Day and National Women’s History Month. The Me Too Movement has renewed awareness of not only women’s rights, but also recognizing the many accomplishments made by women, the arts notwithstanding.
Heading the fine arts scene on Long Island’s east end for three years since its move into the area, owner-curator Mary Cantone says, “I wanted to bring in new talented and remarkable women artists who I feel share a community, as well as world vision and sensibility.” Repeat art collectors and visitors will be treated to artwork never seen in the gallery before with, as the exhibition title indicates, an emphasis on the human form and figures as its focal theme. Asked what led to the concept behind FORMS & FIGURES, Cantone shares, “I’ve always collected figure works. I find there’s an intimacy in them which I can identify with, and am fascinated by the different interpretations and traditions which cross all backgrounds and borders making each of them so unique.”
While Ambery, Brisker-Burk and Saunders are returning artists to William Ris Gallery and will be offering new works for the FORMS & FIGURES exhibition, this is the first time the Gallery will see works by Ehlers, Fender, Guarino, Hannaford, Minardi and Pundyk. Ehlers, a former Ford/Elite model who has been photographed by Helmut Newton and Albert Watson amongst other name photographers, won the prestigious Prix de la Photographie (PX3) Gold Award in 2015 for her series Women as Birds which have never been shown and are included in the exhibition.
“I have a deep passion for Native American culture and their reverence for nature,” explains Ehlers of the concept behind the works in which she combines the medium of Polaroid photography and encaustic wax. “One of their beliefs is that birds are the connections between heaven and earth. Using women as birds demonstrates that we are messengers, better communicators and have a tendency to be more open to the spiritual and intuitive world.”
From Chris Ann Ambery’s joyously energetic original printworks, Deborah Brisker Burk’s colorful yet muted sensual paintings, Shawn Ehlers’ encaustic photographs that evoke primal yet dreamlike melancholy, the intimate portraitures stirring one’s wanderlust through the lens of Madison Fender, the reverence and examined strokes of Jan Guarino’s paintings, the simultaneously sophisticated and playful images of Jennifer Hannaford’s underwater paintings, the intricately seamless merging of textile and wallpaper backgrounds to their subjects by Margaret Minardi, the textured breeziness of Anne Sherwood Pundyk’s paintings, and Susan M. Saunder’s multi-media layering both figurative and literally giving new life and meaning to the statued subjects, FORMS & FIGURES is a beautiful collection of works from women artists we should all know.