Saturday, February 19, 2011

Getting Things All Lined Up

I was cruising the notions stores in the Garment District in search of invisible thread, sipping a large cup of ginger and lemon tea as I walked. The question has been - will the cup drawings be stacked, lined up on shelves or suspended? I already have some clear fishing line from the hardware store and the suspended idea has been shaping up nicely. But, I thought, perhaps the line should be finer? Hence my quest.

Cityscape Cups, by Gwyneth Leech
India Ink on upcycled paper coffee cups

In just the second shop I tried on 38th Street, the Chinese sales assistant had what I wanted - a full spool, designed for sewing machine use. I handed over $6.99 and hurried back to the studio. 

Standing by the window with a set of cups all lined up, I unwrapped my large spool and tried the thread. I could not break it. Good. Then I began to measure it out - very fine, very hard to see. Should be good. 

I started the process of measuring, looping, tying that I have developed this week. In no time flat, I was in a terrible muddle. The thread trailed down to the floor and as I tried to pull the length through the loops it caught somewhere, invisibly, on one of my shoes. As I tried to free it, it caught on the other. I pulled harder, it sprang loose, wound itself into a big knot and I could not see the line to find the end of it. Enough - there is clearly such a thing as too invisible! Into the trash went the spool and I turned once again to my 50 pound fishing line. This, I decided, is the perfect material to suspend 300 cups. Decision made.

Just over a week until the exhibition opens. Load-in is Thursday. Yes, I am ready to go.

Cheryl McGinnis Projects Presents:
Gwyneth Leech, the Cup Drawings
 February 28 - April 1
Fashion Center Window Space at 215 West 38th Street
Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 5:00PM
 The artist will on site drawing and adding to the installation
Monday - Friday, 11:30AM - 1:00PM 

For information and purchase of cup drawings go to 

Set of Black and White Cups
by Gwyneth Leech
India ink on white paper coffee cups

An Installation of Drawings on Upcycled Paper coffee Cups
With Leech's diverse background in painting, video, ceramics, calligraphy, wood engraving and other printmaking techniques, the cup series began as a casual outgrowth of her compelling urge to draw wherever she is. One day, without a sketchbook handy, Leech used what was available in the moment. The curved form, challenge of working with existing shapes, colors, and text, and the infinite possibilities of expressive variation became as addictive as the caffeinated beverage the cup once contained. In addition to raising issues of consumerism, post-consumer waste and environmental concerns the cups are essentially about what drawing is: a conversation between mark making and surface. Building, layering and obliterating through memory, observation and working from within, this meditative process begins with an initial response to each cup and takes on a life of its own.

Leech's range of subject has no boundaries. Her interest in fractal patterning and the fragmenting and meandering of memory and life itself offers an expansive, flowing, bottomless well of imagery, from figurative cityscapes, flora, fauna, mythological winged creatures, and dance performance to abstracted aerial marsh views, biomorphic forms and purely non-objective design. The list is endless because the work is infinite and ongoing. Unlike working on a flat plane, drawing in the round also affords a connectivity of shapes and continuous movement.

Before any drawing begins, Leech records the date, location and related circumstances on the bottom of each cup after it has been rinsed. Combining traditional and non-traditional materials including Faber Castell brush pens, gel pens, white-out pens, Sumi ink, oil or acrylic paint with encaustic and/or polymer varnish with ultra-violet protection, Leech transforms the ubiquitous paper coffee cup into a chance to hold her imagination and her New York City in the palm of your hand.

Inspired by the nearly extinct art of letter writing, an integral extension of this project is Leech's blog, Gwyneth's Full Brew, featuring cup drawings along with "vivid New York slice of life stories about the vagaries and incidental pleasures of being an artist in this crowded, expensive, crazy and inspiring city." 
Artist's Bio
Gwyneth Leech earned her BA at the University of Pennsylvania and a BFA and Post Graduate DA at Edinburgh College of Art, UK. The recipient of numerous awards and grants, including a Glasgow District Council's European Capital of Culture Project Grant, Scottish Arts Council Time Based Media Award, University of Colorado's President's Fund Grant and Elizabeth Greenshields Memorial Award, Leech's work resides in important private and public collections such as the American Museum, Bath, UK; British Broadcasting Corporation; Dumfries and Galloway Regional Council, UK; Edinburgh City Art Galleries; Royal Bank of Scotland; Strathclyde University, UK and the Theater Royal, Glasgow. Museum shows and gallery exhibitions include the Southwest Minnesota State University Art Museum, Marshall, MN; La MaMa La Galleria, NYC; Ayr Art Gallery and Museum, UK; Kilmarnock Art Gallery and Museum, UK; Dundee Museum of Natural History, UK; and the Gallery of Contemporary Art, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, CO

About Cheryl McGinnis Projects 
Throughout the life of Cheryl McGinnis Gallery, our primary interest has been to engage collectors and patrons with a deeper look at the artist's process by hosting interactive gallery talks, artist studio tours, and Art-E, an educational program for children and adults. As one of the first contemporary art dealers to offer this dialogue, our mission is to expand this conversation. We will open our 2011 season by launching Cheryl McGinnis Projects, a new series of process-oriented installations with related experiential events and workshops that take the artist and viewer outside of the traditional gallery space and into the space and mind of the artist.

To introduce our first pop-up space, we are delighted to partner with Manhattan's Fashion Center Business Improvement District and Fashion Center Space for Public Arts Program with Hypergraphia: Gwyneth Leech, The Cup Drawings, an installation of 300 plus drawings on upcycled take-out paper coffee cups in the Fashion Center window space at 215 W. 38th Street. With our history of representing work about domestic environment, it seems fitting to begin here. Since people are no longer tethered to homes and offices due to the rapid advancements in wireless and computer technology and the nonstop pace of 21st century life, this exhibit explores how, instead of giving up that domestic sensibility, women create a new one wherever they find themselves. Art integrates with life on the go as passers-by, many with their own take-out beverage in hand, will experience the installation of cups growing and changing each day.

Continuing our commitment to arts education, we will host seminars for adults at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and provide drawing workshops for children with Gwyneth Leech at our gallery space on Saturdays. We feel strongly that the more we expose children to art, not just the making of art in school, but to visual thinking in museums and galleries, and working with professional artists during existing exhibits, the better chance we have of creating future generations of cultured, critical thinking adults, which is desperately needed in a time when young people are spending hours surfing the net , texting and watching reality television. Workshop and seminar schedules will be available at Cheryl McGinnis GalleryArt-E and on the Cheryl McGinnis and Art E Facebook pages. 
For information and purchase of cup drawings 

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