Together/Apart; The Lady Minimalists in Tulsa

Together/Apart: The Lady Minimalists Tea Society
August 2 - September 22, 2019

Opening Reception: Friday, August 2, 2019, 6:00-9:00 pm
The Gallery at ahha Tulsa Hardesty Center
101 E. Archer Street
Tulsa, OK 74103
Hours: Wed. – Sat. 12:00 pm – 9:00 pm; Sun 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Closed Mon. and Tues.

Together/Apart: An Essay by Susanna Carlisle, Santa Fe, New Mexico, July 2019
An exploration of the topologies of the natural world and our interior landscapes is the essence of the art made by the Lady Minimalist Tea Society (LMTS), a collaborative of six women artists living and working in Northern New Mexico. Jill Christian, Shaun Gilmore, Dara Mark, Danielle Shelley, Signe Stuart, and Janice Wall have shared their work and aesthetic concerns with one another since 2011. These women have developed a common sensibility that has brought forth a musical and poetic contemporary visual Minimalism, while nourishing and maintaining the unique vision of each artist.
The concept of impermanence, fragility and invisible forces permeates the work of three of the artists. Dara Mark’s Chi Gong practice and psychic awareness seem to awaken an Asian sensitivity to the intuitive flow and pooling of watercolor on translucent surfaces. These perceptive paintings express landscapes of memory, loss and the fleeting moments of our lives. They also become metaphors for the breath of life - the inhale and exhale of a meditative state.
Signe Stuart’s constructions on mulberry paper blend drawing and sculpture with an enduring grace. Folds, cuts and linear patterns create mysterious realms between visible and invisible, light and shadow. These atmospheric realms become intangible landscapes reminiscent of the mist in the mountains on a Chinese scroll. They also evoke allusions to the structure of the natural world, as well as technological systems developed by man.
Drawing on the geometric forms of industrial buildings, Janice Wall thoughtfully reminds us how everything goes back to the earth. Her layered monotypes explore textures through time — how the built environment deteriorates from man made particulates, wind, rain sandstorms, and age. Her work is not judgmental, but revealing. The monotypes celebrate impermanence, constant change, and the imperfection inherent in beauty.
A choreography of openness, connectedness and continuity of space dances through the papier-mache sculptures of Shaun Gilmore, who is also a dancer. Her calligraphic, yet organic forms evoke motion, emotion, humor and an unexpected playfulness. Her interest in map making takes three dimensional form with physical presence, bringing new trajectories to how we approach viewing spatial relationships throughout our internal and external landscapes.
Shape, line and color have a more formal expression in the work of Jill Christian and Danielle Shelley. Christian’s recent paintings, Approximate Affinities, expand the repetitive linear brushstrokes of her earlier work by creating rhythmic and repetitive grids of curvilinear forms. These forms suggest the ovoid bodies of stones in a pool or pebbles and shards scattered across the desert. As her figures float on fields of chromatic grey, they evoke a sensory experience of tension, speed or serenity. The thoughtful musicality of the relationship of shapes and patterns to their surrounding environment evokes a timeless song.
Danielle Shelley’s colorful stitched fiber abstractions exhibit the geometries and dimension of distance, area, volume and time. The artist’s use of geometry seems inspired by memories of her father as an architect and the poetic patterning of Donald Judd’s graceful grid of 100 aluminum boxes — each the same size, yet all unique — at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas. A sensitivity to language also inspires Shelley’s work. The word Geometry has two roots: Geo is earth, metry is measurement. The meditative quality of repetition and cadence of color in her stitching bring forth an immersion in the natural world and the vivid and often subtle hues that are found in the sanctuary of the Southwestern landscape.
This summer from August 2 through September 22 The Lady Minimalist Tea Society will be exhibiting at the ahha Tulsa/Hardesty Center. The exhibition, Together/Apar t, will include an interactive installation of approximately 100 ceramic and papier-mâché teacups. Each cup will contain a rolled “fortune.” The ”fortunes” are inscribed with artist quotes and other statements with meaning. Visitors are invited to engage with the installation by moving teacups into new sculptural arrangements and reading the “fortunes. They will be encouraged to take a teacup and fortunes home, taking apart the installation for the duration of the exhibition. This dismantling of the ”landscape” of the installation reinforces the concept of impermanence so central to the artists’ work.
The six artists will attend the opening on Friday, August 2 from 6 - 9 PM. On August 3rd, they will present a talk and invite gallery visitors to participate in hands-on activities that demonstrate aspects of their working processes. This event will occur at the ahha Studio Space.

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