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SUBJECT: Grenfell – Pop culture meets quilting: soft block/hard edge
DATE: Feb. 27, 2008

Sir Wilfred Grenfell College Art Gallery is pleased to exhibit a comprehensive body of work by Victoria painter Ingrid Mary Percy, Feb. 28-April 12. The exhibition includes several series of shaped canvases, drawings and video works.
The series soft block/ hard edge combines a vocabulary of formal abstraction with a pop culture vernacular – specifically, the craft of quilting. Compositions for Percy’s paintings are based on traditional quilt block designs, with titles that allude to the people, places, and events that were important in the lives of the women who designed them: “Broken Dishes”, “Patience Corner”, “Road to California”, “Crazy Anne”, “Shoo Fly”, and “Sister’s Choice”.
“In this series, I am exploring how the language of abstraction plays a role in the expression of domestic and personal experience to women vis à vis traditional craftwork and the making of utilitarian objects (bedcovers),” says Ms. Percy. “I want to marry craft, domesticity, narrative, and history with contemporary geometric abstract painting.
“I am thinking about this work in relation to geometric abstraction of the early twentieth century and about post-war, twentieth century colour field painting in relation to myself as a contemporary, female abstract painter in the twenty-first century.”
Pan Wendt, in his critical essay on soft block/hard edge, argues that “abstract painting was once considered a heroic liberation of visual art from a decadent and fading tradition of representation.” He notes that “Ingrid Mary Percy’s recent shaped canvases call to mind this familiar narrative of aesthetic rarification, and the artist herself, well read in the debates of modernist art history, refers to such illustrious names as Frank Stella and Ellswoth Kelly when discussing the thoughts that generated the work. She includes in her list of inspirations things not normally associated with art: pattern in everyday life, the ChromaCraft image separation process, and traditional women’s craft, especially quilting. By no means do these works relinquish the power of hard-edged abstraction with pure colours and shapes. But they refuse to separate the knowledge and pleasure of aesthetic engagement from the realm of life lived.”
A reception in honour of the artist will be held Thursday, Feb. 28, 7-9 p.m., in the Fine Arts atrium. Refreshments and cash bar will be provided. The artist will discuss her work at the reception at 7:30 p.m. in the art gallery. She will present an hour-long artist’s talk on earlier that day at 11:45 a.m. in the art gallery.
For more information on this exhibition, please contact Gail Tuttle, Gallery Director at 637-6209 or access the gallery website: www.swgc.mun.ca/artgallery/. Gallery hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

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