For my next exhibition I’m very pleased to bring you the work of the fine artist and sculptor, Mary Gillis.
Born in Michigan, keen to become an artist, she traveled to Venice, Italy in her early 20's to study art and art history at the Centro Internazionale delle Arti, Palazzo Grassi. Mary Gillis also holds a BFA degree from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY and a MA from New York University. She was recently a visiting artist of the American Academy in Rome in 2016.
Gillis’ style has evolved from large pastel drawings, collages and prints to paintings and large-scale sculptures to mixed media, work on aluminum and even recycled guardrail.
Through the whole of her remarkable career nature, especially water, has had a great impact on her work. The “Venice Drawings”, “Great Lakes Series”, and “Fountain Collages” reflect her passion for the rhythms and dynamism of moving water.
In her new show at K.OSS Contemporary Art, Mary Gillis: Metalscapes, I am delighted to introduce you to a series of her abstract geometric pieces that Gillis created using thermoset polymer on aluminum, acrylic paint on acrylic glass, stainless steel and a couple of guardrails. This unusual mixture of mediums creates a world both totally new and reflective of the past. These startling effects she creates by using acrylic on clay-coated hardboard as well as thermoset polymer on recycled guardrail. The works clearly convey the influence of the early modern art movement, De Stijl –an abstract, pared-down aesthetic with basic visual elements such as geometric forms and primary colors –but Gillis adds to them a contemporary sensibility. Her combination of reflective surfaces and thoughtful order brings the viewer a new sense of form and reflected space.
I will also be showing a work that will definitely be a surprise for you, a work created by patterns of rectangles made of recycled guardrails ordered into a grid. It reflects many of the innovations and themes of the other works of this exhibition. As you study the details of this remarkable piece, its patterns keep everything in motion and as your eye moves around its varied visual world, along the black bands of its structure, into the bright primary colors and whites that frame its ordered edges, it creates its own thoughtful energies.
Simple and powerful, confidently modern, these works took GIllis many years of experimentation and hard work before she was ready to create them.