Self-Styled ‘Strange’ Artworks on Exhibit at Gallery 51

'REDATO the Lumplander' by Cathy Wysocki

(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – Beginning Thursday, March 29, 2012, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) Gallery 51 will present Strange Soup, an exhibition of striking, colorful, bizarre and challenging artwork by North Adams-based artists Wayne Hopkins and Cathy Wysocki. An opening reception, free and open to the public, will be held on Thursday, March 29, 5-7 p.m.

Hopkins and Wysocki are fairly recent transplants to the Berkshires from Albuquerque, N.M.  Last summer, North Adams was introduced to their respective works through the exhibition, End of an Empire, at Grass Gallery, a part of DownStreet Art.

Wysocki’s imagery is bright, bold and organic; simultaneously captivating and repulsive, according to Ven Voisey, MCLA Gallery 51 manager.

“Disfigured, mutated characters rummage through a vibrant toxic environment. Her works are primarily a combination of  mixed-media paintings on plywood and mixed-media sculpture on a foundation of paper mache,” Voisey said.

The works shown in Strange Soup are from her series entitled LUMPLANDERS.

In Wysocki’s words, this work depicts “a society forming and devolving simultaneously. A mangled and mutated lot; some in search of power and control, others trying to survive, and the hopefuls, they are looking for escape…  Only time will reveal their final outcome – hopefully, not a dismal repeat of past societies and civilizations throughout history. Seeing the suffering and injustice in our entangled world ignites and motivates this work – searching for the compassion and kindness within us all, no matter how deeply buried.”

'Barricade' by Wayne Hopkins

Hopkins’ paintings find themselves rooted in a much more familiar but equally disturbing and conflicted environment, according to Voisey.

“Often resembling a combination of war zone, protest, and outdoor urban habitat, Hopkins’ worlds are an uneasy balance of reserve, structure and horror,” Voisey said.

According to Hopkins, “This work is influenced by my feelings about corporate hegemony, war, deceit, self-interest, and violations of basic human rights. Walls, fences and barriers frame, trap and restrict not only the expressionless figures depicted in these paintings, but the viewer as well; by placing the viewer on one side of the barrier, an involuntary participation occurs, and whether we like it or not, we’re all a part of the bigger picture.”

Strange Soup remains on view through April. MCLA Gallery 51 is at 51 Main St. in North Adams and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  For more information, call 413.664.8718, or visit Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) Gallery 51.


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