Perkins Center for the Arts supports working artists through exhibition opportunities in our Moorestown and Collingswood Galleries. Pieces on display at Perkins Center are available for sale unless otherwise noted. For information on how to purchase and receive individual pieces please email Curator, Sharon Kiefer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Line, Color, and Space are elements that I have come to venerate not only for their visual properties but as the magical elements with which I play every day. Whether with pen and ink or paint on a roller, I focus on the magic of the line making connections through time and space.
In the content and process of my work I am interested in what connects ancient meanings to contemporary ideas. I have fun with the visual properties of signs, and symbols as they fit into my composition but also how they evoke responses subliminally.
A new structure occurs as drawing merges with painting. Ink lines are drawn freehand with a ruling pen. Fields of color are applied with roller. All provide a very immediate and sensual experience in the process with a resulting expressiveness that is visceral. The movement of my hands as extensions of my body feel like a dance as I work. My intension to communicate something unutterable is achieved.
Since March 2020 I have been sequestered in my restored studio fortuitously completed March 1. At first the most I could think to do in this shining new space was to play. I told myself I would play. One piece led to the next and I continued to play.
In my memory the last time I had permitted myself to play was in September of 2006 I spent a week in one of the 22 restored hill towns located in the National Park of Abruzzo, Santo Stefano di Sessanio. The proprietor of Sextantio, the restored castle hotel and restaurant, invited artists for a week residency, gave us a fabulous room, a studio, and indescribably robust and delicious meals. They invited one artist at a time, so I was alone in a fortified medieval town of about 75 inhabitants. Empty gray stone dwellings everywhere. Walls from knee high to 25 ft. All gray stone. Walls at all angles and all widths. I soon learned how ingenious the medieval peoples were in protecting themselves. M.C. Escher was on to them. It was all a visual trick…a perceptual ruse that played on the mind of the enemy who upon attempting to enter the town found themselves immediately lost.
So gray and gravelly. The people are still hiding, I suppose. I saw so few. It all gave me a gray feeling. Except for the hills When one looked out beyond the serpentine wall into the endless hills and the reserved park lands one was refreshingly jolted back into spectral veracity. Green and lush hills home to grazing white sheep and fields of saffron. The hills became dignitaries. The land and its undulating properties appeared to be breathing. So much life still in this land. My blood meets with this land and it is warmed. There is memory in the DNA. All the cells of my body are on familiar turf.
So, the hills of my blood and the hills in my view became my network. The hills were my kaleidoscope of light throughout the day.
So, in that tiny dark studio I rendered the hills as I witnessed them and as I felt them. Their colors warmed me in that cold place just as the people whose faces, gray as stone, would suddenly be alight with color in conversation. Centuries of self-protection does not make one’s face smile too soon. They looked to the hills for nourishment and like me for soulful inspiration. We were kindred. The work that ensued was about the hills and the people who populate the heavy heart of Abruzzo and about the land that is still giving to the world. Some fourteen years later.
So, the isolation and the freedom to play brought this wonderful memory to the fore. It has been a sweet reminder to me that I have not been engaged for over 50 years in a game or enterprise to win. I have been consumed by a beast and I am beauty.
Artists Opening Reception
Interview with Artist, Rachel Citrino and Perkins Center Curator, Sharon Kiefer