From The Dirt to The Skies: Meredith Mallwitz-Meyer

"From The Dirt to The Skies" is on view at Main Street Arts through Oct. 4, 2019

“From The Dirt to The Skies” is on view at Main Street Arts through Oct. 4, 2019

From the Dirt to the Skies is a group exhibition featuring new works in painting, drawing, and printmaking from four of Main Street Arts’ gallery artists — Pat Bacon, Chad Grohman, Meredith Mallwitz-Meyer, and Lanna Pejovic. The artwork is inspired by fog-laden lakes, wooded paths, gardens, and objects plucked from nature. 

Executive director and curator Bradley Butler sat down with each of the artists and asked them some questions about their work and what inspires them to make it. An interesting overlap began to develop between these artists — from the motivation for making art
in the first place, to the imagery, and color palette. First up in this interview series, Finger Lakes artist Meredith Mallwitz-Meyer.

From The Dirt to The Skies:
Meredith Mallwitz-Meyer


Q: Can you talk about your paintings and what inspired them?

A: Different trips or experiences or places I have been to over the past year or so. Places I have been that I have experienced and I just found to be really beautiful that just struck me in a way, whether it be the light or a number of different things. It’s usually the light
that is the number one thing that really gets me. They were just places that I loved and took photographs of and then based on my photos and my memories and sketches that I did there in the moment, I took all those things and started paintings based on
them. In the end, the painting takes on almost a memory sort of feel. They all start from I place I have been, a place that I saw and they all are located around the Finger Lakes area.

"Spring's Finale" by Meredith Mallwitz-Meyer

“Spring’s Finale” by Meredith Mallwitz-Meyer

Q: Is this inspiration and process different from what has happened for you in the past or has this always been your process?

A: It’s been a consistent process. It’s a series I started about 10 years ago now that has just continued to work for me. It’s been consistent, they have all started the same way. Now that I know my process a bit better, I know when I see something and know where it’s going to go.
I can do the research and do all the things that I need in order to get a good strong painting from it.

"Winter's Respite" by Meredith Mallwitz-Meyer

“Winter’s Respite” by Meredith Mallwitz-Meyer

Q: What is on your mind when you’re working? Is there a conscious “trying to remember” things about the place?

A:Yeah! The most important thing for me is that I need peace and quiet. I need to be working by myself with no interruptions. It’s rare that I have just one photograph, I usually take a few so that I can see the way the light changes and I can put it all together to create what I think is the most compelling, strongest look. I have all those photos in front of me, whether it’s on the computer or printed out, and I usually have a vision board. And that’s really it. If I have music going it’s nothing distracting, it’s just something quiet in the background.

"Sonnenberg Tribute" by Merdith Mallwitz-Meyer

“Sonnenberg Tribute” by Merdith Mallwitz-Meyer

Q: The painting “Sonnenberg Tribute” depicts nature in a different way than most of your other work. Can you talk about what caused that shift and if that’s something you’ll be doing more of?

A: I want to do more of that going forward. I used to live down the road from Sonnenberg Gardens in Canandaigua and I would take walks through there. I love all the trees on the property, they are absolutely beautiful. One day I heard a story from someone who worked there that Mary Clark Thompson—she and her husband built the mansion at Sonnenberg—used to plant a tree in honor of every guest that she had back when she lived there. I thought that was a really cool thing, what a great way to honor a  guest. I thought that deserved a painting, so I found a tree that stood out really proud and I wanted to treat it almost like a portrait but still really get the washy luminescent layers in there. I definitely hope to take this further.

"Bud's View" by Meredith Mallwitz-Meyer

“Bud’s View” by Meredith Mallwitz-Meyer

Q:  Can you talk about your color palette? Are these colors you have seen in the skies or are they more amplified?

A: They are colors that I have seen in the sky but they are definitely amped up. I love the soft color palette from nature but I really enjoy being able to change it and put my own take on it. It’s important to me to not be painting exactly what I see. I want it to be a little bit more of a personal experience, I think this interpretation is really important. 

Q: How does your environment impact your work?

A: Oh gosh, I think my environment impacts me more than I even realize. I think going back through my paintings and remembering where the inspiration came from reminds me how much my environment influences me. I love landscapes so the Finger Lakes region always seems to be my subject matter. And it just happens to be that way. I don’t necessarily plan it to be that way it just kind of happens. So I think that because I live in such a beautiful area and the light is really beautiful and the weather and the clouds, there’s always a dramatic change in the light you can get from one moment to the next. It has a huge, huge impact on my work.

Work included in "From The Dirt to The Skies" by Meredith Mallwitz-Meyer

Work included in “From The Dirt to The Skies” by Meredith Mallwitz-Meyer

Q: I know that you were working in a different studio space this summer, what was it like being out of your usual set up?

A:I had a completely empty large room, no finished flooring or walls so it freed me up a little bit, which is important. I was able to just get things started and let the paint fly and I didn’t have any reservations. It became a really freeing experience. So having that space and having that freedom, not just the physical space but also not having to worry about getting anything dirty, I think it was a great exercise for me. It loosened up my flow of how I work a little bit more. 

I was able to work on several pieces at once because I had the space which is typically how I like to work it’s just not always the most practical thing for me. I had all of the paintings in this show out while I was working on another one so I could pull from all of those. It’s important for me when I am having a show to make sure there is cohesion and a common thread through one piece to another and that they all work nicely together but still have their own identities. 

This space granted me all those things which was really wonderful. It has beautiful light as well, it was a big open space with sliding glass doors and a big open backyard in the back. It was the perfect scenario.

From The Dirt to The Skies runs through Friday, October 4, 2019. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shop.

When Jewelry Isn’t “Just Jewelry”

Installation shot from Beyond Ornamental

Installation shot from Beyond Ornamental

I don’t wear jewelry, however, I will often see amazing jewelry come in to the gallery shop at Main Street Arts and I will try it on just to make sure. Wearing it isn’t for me, no matter how hard I try! (I do this all the time, just ask Sarah. I even did it today) However, the idea that I am drawn to it always sticks with me. I see many of the pieces as something to look at and think about, just like any other art form. That is the impetus for our current exhibition, Beyond Ornamental.

A sculptural necklace by Myung Urso and brooch by Loraine Cooley

A sculptural necklace by Myung Urso and brooch by Loraine Cooley

While jewelry is certainly meant to be worn, there are other aspects of this art form that are even more interesting to me. Thinking about the craft of jewelry making, I have such an appreciation for the often minute details that must be considered. The forming of links for chains, cutting shapes out of metal, shaping and polishing stones, threading beads into ornate patterns… These are things that the average person may not consider when they look at handcrafted jewelry, but that is what makes one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces different from their mass-produced counterparts. These things were all made by the hands of the maker in their studio and they are special for that reason.

"Domentzia Collar" by Ashley Landon-Halabuda

“Domentzia Collar” by Ashley Landon-Halabuda

Jewelry often transcends being strictly functional and becomes an art object in its own right—a painting, a sculpture. There may be some kind of narrative or meaningful symbolism behind the work. Loraine Cooley often uses the shape of a boat as a symbol to represent the journey each of us takes throughout our lives. Some pieces may have very specific titles that make you recall historical people or  events. Ashley Landon-Halabuda titled one of her more ornate pieces in the show, Domentzia Collar, referencing an Empress from the Byzantine Empire.

"Brown Coil Zulu Necklace" by Katie Nare

“Brown Coil Zulu Necklace” by Katie Nare

The materials may be chosen for very specific reasons, as with Myung Urso who uses Asian inks—among many other materials—as a way to connect to her birthplace of South Korea where she learned the techniques of Korean calligraphy. The patterns could reference those found in another culture, as in the work of Katie Nare. Her passion for travel is a way for her to celebrate the diversity of the human experience.

Ulterior Triple Band Double Finger Ring by Brittany Rea

Ulterior Triple Band Double Finger Ring by Brittany Rea

Sometimes, jewelry can be about the experience of actually wearing it. The work of Brittany Rea is sculptural and interacts with the body in ways that won’t let you forget that you are wearing jewelry. Other times, it can be strictly about whats happening on or in between the surface(s), as with Heather Bivens‘ enamel glass work where lifelike insects seem to rest on the neck of the wearer, causing a second glance from passersby.

Brown Recluse

Brown Recluse Necklace by Heather Bivens (will get second glances for sure)

All of this is to say that jewelry isn’t “just jewelry”, it is another way to communicate ideas through artwork. So, whether you are an avid jewelry collector or if you are like me and you’re contemplating buying brooches to frame and add to your art collection, do yourself a favor and pay a visit to this exhibition before it closes.

Beyond Ornamental features work by 6 jewelry artists from our region. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shop. Beyond Ornamental runs through August 16, 2019.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Victoria Scudamore

Victoria Scudamore , artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of August 2019, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Victoria some questions about her work and studio practice:

Artist Victoria Scudamore

Artist Victoria Scudamore

Q: To start off, tell us about your background.
I grew up in a suburb of San Francisco near the ocean, and across the street from a mountain covered in eucalyptus trees. I was given lots of freedom to explore, climb trees, and create. Being so involved in nature helped inform my art process.

I was an ultrasonographer, and realtor, before becoming a full-time artist. I have taken numerous courses from well-known artists and did an art residency in Barcelona. I don’t have a  formal art school background but have been told that is why I am able to be so free and loose in my art, there are no preconceived notions.

Scan 4

Q: How would you describe your work?
Painting makes me happy, and I hope to bring the same response in the viewer. I paint abstractly with bold brush strokes, and vivid colors. My paintings are non-representational,  as I want others to feel the art, and decide what it means to them. Since I have always lived near the ocean, blue seems to appear in my paintings quite often, as do abstract mountains, forests, and seas.

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
As an ultrasonographer, I used the left side of my brain while performing and interpreting scans of patients.  As an artist, I use the synergy of both sides of the brain. My intuitive right brain is in play when I am painting my emotions, using varied gestural strokes, marks, and vivid colours. Like a scientist, my art studio is my lab; where I experiment with different media and techniques in my abstract paintings. Acrylic is combined with ink, collage, monoprinting, or encaustic. Layer after layer and various textures aim to evoke a visceral response in the viewer.


Q: What is your most useful tool in your studio?
My most useful tools are my imagination and intuition. I have a wildly vivid imagination and dream in color. My intuition is so strong, amazing things have happened in my life.

The tactile tools I love are my fingers and catalyst blades, which are a firm flat silicone blade.


Q: What advice would you give other artists?
Enjoy the journey, have a sense of play. Don’t worry about what others think of your art. If you are authentic and enjoy what you are doing, it will be reflected in your paintings and liked by others. Don’t compare yourself with other artists, everyone is on a different part of their journey. Comparison steals joy. You are never too old. Just start. The world needs your art.

Q: Do you collect artwork?
Making art has enhanced my enjoyment of other’s work. I collect art from close artist friends, as I love to have a memento from those I care about. When I participated in the International Encaustic Conference, I was thrilled to be able to purchase small works from incredible encaustic artists. I usually buy small pieces, as my walls are covered with my art. My most recent purchase was from a local hyperrealistic artist, Lorn Curry.  I appreciate his talent, as it is so different from my own.

Roundhouse Exhibition

Roundhouse Exhibition

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I am so excited to have been accepted to the residency program at Main Street Arts!  I can’t wait to be in Clifton Springs and make new friends. I plan to explore the beautiful Finger Lakes region and incorporate natural materials in my work. Experimenting with brush making and monoprinting, I hope to complete a series of abstract paintings that give a sense of place. I hope to engage the locals, and that you will come to visit me on the second floor. I would enjoy chatting with you. I am also teaching a monoprinting with a gel plate workshop on August 24!

Q: What’s next for you?
I’ve applied for a few shows at the Federation Of Canadian Artists, back home in Vancouver, Canada. My dream art studio in my garden has been finished.  I’m excited to announce mixed media workshops in my beautiful bright new space. I hope to also have guest artists.

Q: Where else can we find you?

I can be found on my website:
Instagram: victoria_scudamore_artist