Many of us “citizens of the world” lament our verbal noise, saying with frustration, we think, read and talk too much. Sometimes it takes an artist — a former writer, no less — to enter the verbose jungle, that endless stream of thoughts, and re-arrange it a bit.
Meet Suzy Farren, the Alliance Gallery’s guest artist for April. A professional writer who retired as vice president of corporate communications at SSM Health, Farren also found herself retired from writing. Somewhat wordless, Farren wondered in what other ways she could express herself. She slowly ran the reel of writing backwards until she backed right into a world of art, very tactile art.
Her wall hangings are abstract worlds swirling with barely discernible words, living within a multitude of textures and earth-toned colors.
“I usually write words on my pieces, but they åare intentionally indecipherable to the viewer. I guess because I was a writer for so long, I just have to have those words.” She adds, “I frequently find myself writing the words of a poem by my father. They are deeply personal to me.”
The viewer experiences language unstrung, hung in its own beauty. That beauty reflects earth tones of the countryside, perhaps because she grew up in a 1749 stone house. Her approach to her art, “organic and intuitive,” always requires her hands, tactilely expressing this process of living with a piece: adding, subtracting, painting, ripping, layering, extracting.
Sometimes, however, the intuitive unbounded creations leave her craving that more precise art: book-making. Book-as-art allows those of us who love books to enter into the magical world of potential. It holds the “vibration” of our favorite book, or the book on the shelf waiting to be read, or the amazing book we just heard about. Farren’s book creations offer the sheer beauty of a book.
Featured member: Mary Beth St. Clair
Mary Beth St. Clair, Alliance Gallery’s featured member artist, began designing with beads and metal after she was commissioned to sketch Art Nouveau style designs for jewelry pieces in 1995. After discovering the endless possibilities of jewelry art, a passion was unleashed, and she wanted to learn all she could. St. Clair’s pieces range from the simple to the elegant. Her self-taught approach allows for a fresh and different, yet practical, expectation of her art.
St. Clair draws inspiration for her designs from art, nature and history. Some designs reflect the era of Art Nouveau, flowing with graceful lines and romance as well as modern simple asymmetrical or geometric designs. One may see the beauty of the gemstone, whimsy of the material or elegance of the composition, but she believes that the true value of a piece of jewelry is the feeling it inspires — the special relationship between the object of beauty and the wearer.
She pays particular attention to the gem, very much like a sculptor listens to the stone before carving. She handcrafts each silver setting to enhance the piece. Amber has been a long-time favorite because each piece is individually selected, and amber comes in such a rich variety of color, ranging from opaque yellow to glowing green.
Her collection ranges from earrings to necklaces to clasps for scarves and brooches. Recently, she found herself attracted to microchips — a unique form of jewelry for our wired-in generation.
An opening reception honoring Farren’s and St. Clair’s work will be 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, April 8, coinciding with Hannibal’s Second Saturday Gallery Night.
More information is available from Alliance Art Gallery, 112 N. Main, by visiting allianceartgallery.com or calling 573-221-2275. nof your post goes here. To edit this text, click on it and delete this default text and start typing your own (or paste your own from a different source).