Feature Articles

November 2013

Artspace in Raleigh, NC, Offers Works by Eric McRay and Heather Gordon

Artspace in Raleigh, NC, will present several new exhibits including: Trial by Fire II, featuring works by Eric McRay, on view in the Upfront Gallery, from Nov. 1 - 30, 2013, and How to Fold My Heart: Three Mothers, Daughters and Wives, featuring works by Heather Gordon, on view in the Lobby Gallery, through Nov. 30, 2013. Receptions will be held on Nov. 1, from 6-10pm.

Trial by Fire II will feature new collage works by McRay, who is a popular artist, with a vital presence in the Artspace building for over fourteen years. About the collage technique, he says “collage, one of the major innovations of modern art, is an artist inserting pieces of the real world into a constructed one.”

McRay injects impromptu invention in the construction of his collages, which include such materials as painted papers, photographic reproductions, snippets of photographs, scraps of fabric, elements from magazines, cut & torn paper, water-media & acrylic paints. The different materials of everyday existence are edited, sliced and reassembled into amazingly new images on paper, board or canvas.

These constructed worlds pull the viewer into a new reality. Collage empowers McRay to push the boundaries that allow the real world to infiltrate a painting, dissolve the conventions that separate art and life, high art and popular culture.

McRay received a BFA degree at the Maryland Institute College of Art, where he earned a four-year scholarship for his artistic talent. He has been exhibiting in NC since 1987, and McRay was juried into Artspace in 1998. He has been featured on TV and radio shows, and in multiple newspapers and magazines. McRay’s work can be found in numerous corporate collections.

Heather Gordon, who became an Artspace member in 2013, writes of her new series, How to Fold My Heart: Three Mothers, Daughters and Wives: “The people and places in our lives define us. Through our relationships to friends, family and geographic spaces, we come to understand who we are and navigate the complexity of choices that create the path of our personal narratives. Can these relationships be visualized? Can this visual expression be read, like a fingerprint, holding all the unique relationships intact?”

In searching for an answer to these questions, Gordon combines theories of geometric folding patterns, geographic locations, and personal history to create a method for making origami crease diagrams. The diagrams provide visual suggestions to the artist’s questions.

The works comprising Three Mothers, Daughters, and Wives spring from her series, How to Fold My Heart. Using the birthplaces and residence locations for Gordon’s grandmother, Sue Bergemeyer, and her daughters, Jackye Brooks and Elizabeth Gordon (the artist’s mother), she created a small set of spatially related data used as a springboard to create the final diagrammatic works. As a new parent, Gordon invites us to meditate on our own shifting, contextual identities, as she considers her new role as mother.

“We are so pleased to show Heather’s new work, which beautifully exemplifies a contemporary thread of artists who integrate data into either their process or their finished product,” says Shana Dumont Garr, Director of Programs & Exhibitions at Artspace.

Using a program called TreeMaker developed by Robert Lang in cooperation with Professor Erik Demaine and Martin L. Demaine at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA, Gordon uses the geographic locations of her loved ones to create a connected “tree.” She allows the program to mathematically optimize a crease pattern to create a folded origami shape. This pattern can be manipulated while keeping the relational distances intact to generate variations in the resulting shape. The flexibility enables the artist to create a series with a unified appearance and intriguing distinctions.

Born in 1967, Gordon received her BFA from the University of Florida in 1990 and her MFA from New Mexico State University in 1995. She has taught painting, drawing, design, and art appreciation courses in numerous locations from 1992 to1999, and has given lectures about her work at SAS, Cassilhaus, the Ackland Art Museum, and Greenhill. Gordon regularly exhibits locally and nationally.

Gordon relocated to Durham, NC, in 2009 where she pursues her interests in art and design. She is currently the artist liaison at Golden Belt where she keeps her studio and works to coordinate events, foster public awareness, and facilitate professional development for the 40 plus artists in her group.

Artspace is a nonprofit visual art center dedicated to providing arts education and community outreach programs, creating an environment of more than 120 professional artists and presenting nationally acclaimed exhibitions. Located in downtown Raleigh in the historic Sanders Ford building, Artspace has been providing the community with the opportunity to interact with working artists and to participate in hands-on arts education since 1986.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the center at 919/821-2787 or visit (www.artspacenc.org).

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