Gloria Garfinkel: 3D Color

March 17 - June 17, 2018

There is something expansive and generous about an artist who is willing to include a place for the viewer in the work. No longer a detached observer, you feel empowered to create alongside the artist.

In her Flip & Turn and Seven Circles wall reliefs, Gloria Garfinkel focuses on our changing perception of colors in relationship to one another. She does this by allowing viewers to move parts of each artwork—flipping a panel over to its opposite side or rotating a colorfully patterned circle against its background. In each case new color relationships are revealed, and the viewer has participated in changing the artwork.

Also on view in this exhibit are two maquettes for Garfinkel’s Hanabi series of monumental outdoor sculptures. These are spatially bold pieces, in form, pattern, and color evoking folded origami papers. We were unable to bring a full-scale sculpture to the grounds of the museum, so when viewing these miniatures, imagine that you are outside walking around, under, and through a towering Hanabi. In your mind’s eye, experience the lively colored and patterned forms and the interplay among color, scale, and place.

— Mara Williams, Chief Curator

To paraphrase Bonnard, “The starting point of an artwork is an idea.” To preserve that first glimmer of an idea, an artist may make a written notation or a small instant sketch. Ideas are stored as memories until circumstances bring them to the forefront. The inner eye sees, then the brain moves the hand and makes the idea into art. Experimentation may come from an inner dialogue in which the artist asks questions and devises answers to solve the inevitable problems.

The aluminum maquettes of Hanabi are studies for larger site-specific works. Hanabi means “celebration.” When most people think of a celebration, they think of color as an important part of its scheme. For me the works are not about traditional or ceremonial dance; theater—the costumes, the acting, the movement across the stage, the makeup—all of it contributes to a special image to be worked into a piece of art.

One thing several of my series of artworks have in common is that I’m trying to actively engage the viewer. In the Flip & Turn series I want you to be fully, physically involved. I find intriguing the concept that a finished painting is complete, done, frozen in time, never to be changed. I want you to move the “flips” and turn the “discs” to see how it feels to change a piece of art and feel the excitement of experimentation.

— Gloria Garfinkel


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