Kerry Vander Meer

Kerry Vander Meer

DATESOctober 3 - Decmber 6, 2009

RECEPTIONOctober 9, 7:00-9:00pm

Artist's Site

Visiting Info

Terry Acebo Davis

"A Bit of Tile," mixed media on wood

Kerry Vander Meer presents a colorful array of works on paper and canvas; these lively, organically-derived compositions weave visual stories and myths, amorphous, like the wispy memories of elusive dreams. Vander Meer's work traces the course of an internal journey – one which reflects her external travels to a variety of destinations, as well as her dual residency: the artist's primary home and studio is in Oakland, California, but her time spent in Mazatlán, Mexico, where she also maintains a studio and casa, has grown to form an increasingly important component of her life and work.

Works such as Volumes and Volumes (2009) intrigue and delight the eye with a dynamic interplay of seductive color and engaging forms. Floral and other botanic forms meet stripes and rectangles; a unifying circular motif connects the disparate shapes. A pulsing, electric blue circle, perhaps suggesting the earth, complements more muted hues of gold, burgundy, and lavender, with lemon-yellow, mango-orange, and a kiwi-green rounding out the artist's generous palette. Says Vander Meer, “In my M.F.A. program at Mills, I disciplined myself to use only black, white, and ochre in my sculptures, as I thought that color was a crutch to compensate for lack of cohesive forms. I did stick to that self-imposed assignment … but here 20 years later, the color is stronger than ever. I was talking to a student of mine and he expressed the same feeling – that there are not enough colors to work with.”

Along with the artist's sense of color and composition, this recent work displays her lifelong passion for working with fabric. Lightheartedly, she calls herself “a cutter,” insisting she is never happier than when snipping out assorted shapes in brightly-patterned textiles, as well as when meticulously cutting the intricate acetate stencils which she employs in her monotype-based work. Early on, she learned the satisfaction of sewing her own clothes – with the best part of the process always the cutting out of the crisp tissue paper pattern pinned to layers of fabric. Pursuing a degree in textiles seemed a logical step; Vander Meer states, “At S.F. State I gravitated to fabric techniques – silk screen, batik, tie dye, and stuffed fabric sculpture … my later thesis work at Mills College was made up of fabric stretched on wire armatures and objects that I found at recycling facilities. So it is a natural habit to incorporate fabric in my artworks, a habit that I believe can’t be broken. Some believe that art is an obsession, and obviously fabric is mine.”

Always, the whole in Vander Meer's work is greater than the sum of its parts: individually simple elements resonate to form a satisfying gestalt. We sense a universe which might, somehow, make sense. Disliking the pretentiousness and hypocrisy of much new-age thought or lofty “spiritual” trendiness, her work, like her life, is infused with grass roots humanism, a respect for other people and creatures which is deeply felt and genuine. For many years she has been an active practitioner of yoga, and a deep sense of balance and calmness is expressed in much of the work. Other works resonate at higher pitch: of joy, and of freedom, reflecting her pleasure with the journey on which she has embarked. Her work expresses a euphoric celebration of the senses of sight and touch – a celebration of life itself. In Vander Meer's floating shapes and tactile swatches, we may reflect on matters weighty and insignificant, or merely bask in the feelings they evoke.

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