Michelle Stone Grue-some Heads, Creatures and Shadows @ Ceres Gallery 547 West 27th Street (between 10th and 11th Avenues), Suite 201, New York, NY 10001. The exhibition is on view in Gallery I from April 24 until May 19, 2012.
In his 2003 essay “Renaissance Ideas about Self-Portrayal,” Norman E. Land noted that the Renaissance art critic had a penchant for the divine connection between artist and her work. By inventing a construction out of mere paint or stone, an artist creates something that, before, has never existed. The Renaissance ideology held that the artist would leave an imprint of herself on the surface, just as God had created man in the image of himself. Land referenced Petrarch’s notion that “art mirrors the artist’s psyche, his imagination, soul, mind, or genius.”
Our contemporary view often alludes to similar sentiments sans religious persuasions: we explain our obsessions with artist’s imprint as emotive evidence of artist’s presence. Perhaps we secretly wish to either place the artist on a godly pedestal or to perversely remind ourselves that the artist is as human as we. Whichever our reason we enjoy a line awry.
Michelle Stone satisfies our desires with sculptural installation depicting human condition and cycle of erosion. Stone works in acrylic, molding paste, plaster and other media to produce highly-textured organic relief and sculpture. Some works appear to have sprouted naturally off the wall, while others resemble hand-molded contorted figures. Brazen depth casts shadows onto the wall and conflates with pitted contours extending into gallery space. Grue-some Heads, Creatures and Shadows presents a fictitious scene comprised of empty cocoons, and, in turn, the installation confronts the dichotomy of naivety and maturity.
Michelle Stone taught painting and drawing at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago for twenty-five years. A former art therapist, now she facilitates art appreciation sessions and teaches with Art Encounter, a non-profit art and education organization.