New exhibit opens in Wriston

Kirsten Rusinak

Last Friday evening, the Wriston Art Center welcomed painter Jean Guequierre and her body of work to another exciting art opening. Gallery curator Frank Lewis first ran into Guequierre’s work about 15 years ago, explaining how “the way she borrowed from earlier periods” sparked his interest. By alluding to a musician learning a piece of classical music, Lewis explains Guequierre’s approach in making Renaissance-inspired paintings: “If I perform this I can come to some understanding of a previous time in history. Thus … we might think of the paintings as homage to earlier artists and the issues with which they dealt,” he said.
Guequierre’s paintings differ from our previous visiting artists in that she presents a “revival of a more traditional narrative structure.” However, Guequierre fits into Wriston’s emphasis on contemporary art by “shar[ing] with [the] other artists that we show … a recognition of the importance of looking at historical sources and works and understanding how such things inform contemporary considerations.”
As an artist accustomed to showing her work in commercial galleries, Guequierre jumped at the opportunity to exhibit in our not-for-profit space. According to Lewis, not for profit galleries “usually allows artists a bit more freedom to show more works and a variety of pieces.” For instance, she was quite pleased that she was asked to show a painting that was unfinished so that viewers could see something of the process. “A commercial gallery probably would not do such a thing,” she said.
The opening was well attended and generally thought provoking for the many aspiring artists within our student body.
As usual, the evening commenced with a lecture by the artist. Guequierre presented her work by sharing images of her source material and discussing how the fragments she chose, mostly from Pieter Bruegel, speak to her as an artist and importantly as a mother of three children.
In addition to Guequierre’s exhibit in the center gallery, Lawrence’s historic coin collection and a mythologically inspired installation are also currently on display. Lewis offered the connection that “all three shows certainly share an indebtedness to history” through either iconography as a means to address contemporary issues or iconography as a “tool of communication.”
The gallery hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday through Sunday. Be sure to stop by!

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