Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Extravagant Gift

a view of the gallery,
with paper lace trees and silverpoint drawings
 Our own Amy Gray's extraordinary, lovely, peaceful, and mysterious installation, The Extravagant Gift will grace the Dadian Gallery through the end of the semester. Although I could add my own inchoate and extravagant thoughts, I think that Trudi Ludwig Johnson, our clever, insightful, hard-working Curator has already said what needs to be said. Trudi writes,
The Dadian Gallery has been transformed by Amy Gray’s Extravagant Gift.
All Roads Lead to Dounby, silverpoint
and watercolor on wood, 90" x 48", 2013
 Traditionally, a ‘gallery’ is a room or building devoted to the exhibition of works of art, where people look at paintings, sculptures or other art objects.  Some of us have even (uneasily?) experienced a gallery as a business ‘dealing’ in works of art, and we expect to be approached by someone who has something to sell.
But this Extravagant Gift is an installation; it is not an object per se, it is an opportunity.   It is not just a grouping of two- or three-dimensional things, but a site-specific four-dimensional experience. 
Amy Gray’s Extravagant Gift offers visitors a place, some time, and a cloistered space, to shed extraneous mental chatter.  We are allowed to wander amongst gentle, giant, swirling vortices of paper lace, pause under a twinkling tent of heaven, and ponder evocations of nature created by repeated flicks of a stylus filled with a semi-precious metal on prepared ground.  
perforated painted paper becomes the tent of heaven
The creative process murmurs  here.  This ‘wonder’ land didn’t just magically appear, but evolved and morphed over three seasons.  Contemplating, configuring, revising, drawing, cutting, stitching, placing, hanging, lighting . . .  its impermanence is equally poignant.  The paper will be pulled down and recycled; the drawings dispersed, the gallery space restored to ‘normal.’   But for a few weeks, wanderers may be swaddled in the elegant, subtle, prodigal generosity of this contemplative passage on their faith journey, allowing the possibility to reconsider, refresh, renew, re-invent, resume . . .
May the viewer may be transformed by this Extravagant Gift:  worship in the making, joy in the receiving.
So, come see the show! If you can, come hear Amy talk about her process and her perspective as an artist working in a theological seminary at noon on Tuesday, October 29. You, too, may be transformed!
The Extravagant Gift, paper and thread, 12' x 12' x 12', 2013

The Dadian Gallery is located in the Kresge Academic Building at Wesley Theological Seminary, 4500 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC. You can see more photos of this installation at http://www.wesleyseminary.edu/en-us/lcar/gallery/exhibitions/past/extravagantgift.aspx

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