An exhibition of original artwork by local artist Brit Ray will be on display from July 3 through July 30, 2018 at Swarthmore Borough Hall, 121 Park Avenue, Swarthmore. The public is invited to the artist’s opening reception on Friday July 6, from 6 to 8 pm. Both the exhibit and the opening are free and open to the public.
Exhibit hours are M-Th 9am – 8pm, Fri 10am – 7pm, Sat 10am – 3pm, Sun 1 – 5pm.
About the Artist
“I was born at a very early age,” quipped W.C. Field. To which I reply, “And so was my cognosphere.” —Cognosphere being a word I coined for that place in the mind where our own peculiar abstractions accrue. (What’s in your cognosphere?)
Do you ever wonder why just seeing things isn’t enough? Why do some of us feel the impulse to translate a face, a scene, or a concept into pencil marks, paint, clay, or photos? I was thirteen years old and doing a pastel drawing of the Hudson River Drive when I first asked myself that question. I look at that picture now and remember at which stroke the question intruded itself.
As if in pursuit of an answer, I have saved samples of my art from every stage of my life. When I look at fifth-grade sketches of my classmates, I remember just what those friends were like. My application portfolio for New York’s Music & Art High School is filled with pictures (each bearing the required label “done from life and without supervision”) that recall my family and friends and the spaces we inhabited. At Dickinson College and Columbia University, while majoring in English and studying Philosophy, I illustrated, edited, and wrote for student publications. Later, as an editor, I continued to engage in both the visual and performing arts. During my 25-year career as a copy and speech writer at the University of Pennsylvania, I additionally took photos for publications, wrote and produced a musical, and created and illustrated cryptic crosswords.
In recent years, I have taken classes at the Community Art Center with Matiko Mamaladze (oils), Olga Nielsen (sculpture and pastels), Sally Paynter (acrylics), and Dan Shipley (oils), while exhibiting at CAC and Swarthmore Borough Hall. When I paint in oil or acrylic, my references are from life, my own photographs, or great photos I find in the NY Times. If I am doing something purely imaginative, I like the more immediate mediums of pencil, watercolor, pastel, or ink. I have done two portraits from life in clay.
My cognosphere teems with images and concepts from the thousands of books and essays I’ve read, all the movies and TV shows I’ve seen, all the radio programs I’ve heard, all the songs I’ve sung, and all the paintings I’ve been awed by. All these abstractions are the output of other minds, acting on each other, going back and back. And yet (like each one of us) I retain the childhood ability to experience my own world in my own way. My favorite “abstraction haunts” are New York’s MOMA and the Neue Galerie. The period I’m most drawn to in art is late 19th and early 20th Century American and European representational painting, drawing, and sculpture. I consider illustration to be a “Fine Art.”
As much as I like doing art, I love seeing the work of others, including that of my husband, Chris, and daughters, Waverley, Wendelin and Vanessa. I am grateful to the artist/volunteers of Swarthmore Friends of the Arts for giving local artists such a fine place to roll out our cognospheres.
Swarthmore Friends of the Arts is the community group responsible for the rotating art exhibits at Swarthmore Borough Hall. For information about Swarthmore Friends of the Arts visit www.swarthmorearts.org, or contact Skip Gosnell, Publicity Chair at 484-343-2728, firstname.lastname@example.org.