Phyllis Cohen Stevens
Deputy Director of News Services
LIGHT TO DARK:
PAINTINGS AND WORKS ON PAPER BY MARGERY EDWARDS
—Tracing the Late Australian Painter’s Progression, Both Earthbound and Ethereal,
From White to the “Infinite Language and Peace of Black”—
|Exhibition Dates: ||Tuesday, April 17 – Monday, July 30, 2007 |
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|Where: ||The Queens College Art Center |
| ||(part of the Kupferberg Center for the Arts) |
| ||6th floor, Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library |
| ||Queens College |
| || 65-30 Kissena Boulevard, Flushing, NY |
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|Gallery Talk and Reception: ||Thursday, April 19, 2007, 5 - 6 pm Reception, 6 - 8 pm |
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|Gallery Hours: ||Mondays - Thursdays, 9 am - 8 pm |
| ||Fridays, 9 am - 5 pm |
| ||(Closed Memorial Day, May 28 and July 4) |
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|Gallery Contacts: || |
For more info: (718) 997-3770
| ||www.qc.cuny.edu/Library/art/artcenter.html |
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|Fee: ||Free and open to the public |
FLUSHING, NY, March 19, 2007 – Margery Edwards’s New York paintings, collages, and works on paper, charting her exploration of light and dark, will be exhibited at the Queens College Art Center from Tuesday, April 17 through Monday, July 30. On Thursday, April 19, the public is invited to a free gallery talk by the exhibition’s curator, Jeanne Wilkinson, from 5 to 6 pm, followed by a reception until 8 pm. For more information, please visit: www.qc.cuny.edu/Library/art/artcenter.html
| "NY 739 1978," Mixed Media on Paper |
Australian-born and raised, Margery Edwards (1933-1989) lived in Sydney and later in the United Kingdom, East Africa, Italy, and New York. In 1975 she left her ocean-view home in Australia to find her mature artistic vision in a Manhattan loft overlooking the Hudson River. She also left behind her bright palette to immerse herself in an exploration of the moods and modes of black. Her life’s journey was an interior one, a difficult and deeply personal voyage. When she died in 1989, Edwards had created a series of images that trace a path both earthbound and ethereal—in her own words, a “progression through darkness and light.”
Before arriving in New York, Edwards had developed a subtle but intense personal language of abstract imagery influenced by her first home in Australia. Responding to the color direction of Abstract Expressionists, her sensitive, lyrical, and spiritual work found affinity with Barnett Newman, Helen Frankenthaler, and Clyfford Still. Thrust into the stimulating yet unsettling life of New York City, Edwards internalized the turmoil and gradually translated it into bold, experimental, and difficult work. “For the first time in my life, art was no longer an idealistic expression of how I would like things to be,” she wrote in 1978. “It became an existential statement of how things really appeared.”
Anxiety and tension darkened her palette while new understanding blossomed in a series of black paintings first shown in New York in 1978. “It is strange,” she noted, “that out of disturbance and fear have come the strongest works I have ever done.” Finding elusive peace through her art, Edwards produced a rich body of work in the early 1980s—eloquent organic canvases, collages, drawings, and prints in which she processed the forces at work in her life. Black became an infinite language to express her voyage inward. In a 1985 breakthrough, color born of black began to seep in at the horizons of her paintings, intensifying their darkness and portraying it as a universal constant touched by mysterious presence. Although Edwards’ life was cut short by a heart attack, her art evolved and came to full fruition over her lifetime.
This exhibition will also include works on paper, which for Edwards functioned as a spontaneous, visual diary. Her art sprang from a place within her, yet she was also influenced by life’s events and experiences, her reading, and many 20th-century artists, including Robert Motherwell, Ad Reinhart, Antoni Tapiès, and particularly by the shadowy and spiritually resonant late paintings of Mark Rothko.
Edwards used the essential, earthly elements of art—form, color, composition—to elegantly and expressively illuminate a spiritual and emotional journey. To Margery Edwards, black was an origin, not a lack of light. Her last black paintings depict a place not of hiding but of comfort, enclosure, and peace. We will never know what she might have accomplished had she lived longer, but the work she left behind seems complete. It was the journey that mattered.
Edwards studied in Sydney, at the Brera Academy of Art in Milan, and at the Morley College Art School in London. Her work has been shown widely in Australia, Italy, Canada, and, since 1978, in the United States, including one-person exhibitions at Rawspace, 22 Wooster Street, and Hirondelle galleries in New York, and a retrospective at the Martin Art Gallery at Muhlenberg College, Pennsylvania. Her work has also been shown in many group exhibitions in the greater metropolitan area, upstate New York and New Jersey, and at the Australian Embassy in Washington, DC. She was Artist-in-Residence for the Space Shuttle Discovery in Cape Canaveral, Florida in 1985 and 1988, and her work has been discussed and reprinted in numerous essays and reviews. Edwards is represented in the world’s major collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the National Gallery of Canada, the Neuberger Art Museum, the National Art Gallery of Australia, and numerous other public, corporate, and private collections.
Photographs as well as biographical and sales information are available upon request.
Visitors to the Margery Edwards exhibit may also want to see the Grandeur of Islamic Art in Image and Object exhibition at the Godwin-Ternbach Museum on campus (February 13 – May 31). For information on this exhibition, please visit http://www.qc.cuny.edu/godwin_ternbach.
For directions to Queens College, go to http://www.qc.cuny.edu/about/directions.php