John Ferry Artist Statement
For the past 20 years, my work has focused on documenting the various cities in which I’ve lived, places like Decatur, IL, where I was born, Kansas City, New York and Baltimore. I use the city’s’ architecture as a starting point to explore my vision as an urban industrial-scape painter.
My newest series of paintings are a tribute to my appreciation and love of mid-century modern architecture. I currently live in a mid-century modern home in Prairie Village, KS; our second “Drummond” built home. My father’s interest in Frank Lloyd Wright and the history and visual impact of his architecture, undoubtedly helped generate my own interest. I grew up in a home directly in back of an original Frank Lloyd Wright designed home, #2 Millikin Place. There were three houses designed by Mr. Wright and his firm within this same block. My father used to give neighborhood tours and describe Wright’s Prairie Style influences. These homes provided a rich environment for inspiration and education. In my recent series of paintings, I have included many versions of similar scenes that explore composition, drama, color, light and space. I’ve also included a couple of paintings of my grandfather Oscar Bardelmeier’s tools. He was an amazing craftsman and took great care of his supplies. I’ve tried to honor his craftsmanship with my execution.
Many artists and art movements have influenced me. Starting with Richard Diebenkorn and the Bay Area Figurative Art group to Willem de Kooning and the Abstract Expressionists and most recently Charles Sheeler and the Precisionism movement.
As a painter I’m very interested in studying and reading about artists and art history. During my junior year of college, I was shown two paintings of scissors by Richard Diebenkorn. While I’ve seen the Sistine Chapel, Mona Lisa and La Grande Jatte, nothing has moved or inspired me like those Diebenkorn paintings of scissors. That day I painted bad examples of scissors all day, but the important thing was that I was inspired to paint. I’ve been searching for my “scissors” ever since. I believe I found them in my urban-scape paintings inspired by the architecture of the cities I’ve lived in.
“Ferry’s works reveal the aesthetic beauty of the overlooked and forgotten urban environments and brilliantly portrays the cycle of change in our cities,” said Will Hipps, Art Museum and Gallery Director at Kennesaw State University.
Nora Othic is considered one of the top regionalist painters in the Midwest. She builds on a legacy from her artistic predecessors such as Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton and the WPA artists from the Depression era, all known for celebrating rural America.
Othic moved to Marceline, Missouri when she was 7 years old and still lives on a farm today. Her rural experiences form and sustain her work as an artist, with numerous museum and gallery exhibitions in the Midwest to her credit. Her paintings reflect her lifestyle and focus on the ordinary aspects of life, exploring relationships between people, animals and the environment. Her straightforward depiction of the everyday approaches the heroic.
Othic has felt an important connection to farm animals since childhood, seeing them as a bridge between humanity and the natural world. Every year, she travels to the Missouri State Fair to take reference photos for her paintings. Not only are the animals (prime examples of their breeds) available for close-ups; they are shampooed, brushed, clipped, and polished to perfection, so that her paintings of them become iconic as well as descriptive.
Othic’s paintings and drawings of horses, roosters, pigs and rabbits are in a class of their own. While Othic often shows humans in action, completing a task or caring for an animal, her animals are presented in stillness, tranquil and dignified, each a blue ribbon winner. She is a sympathetic and keen observer and clearly sees each creature as a unique individual and nowhere is this more apparent than in her portraits of rabbits. Elizabeth Kirsch has said of Othic’s rabbits, “Not since Albrecht Durer has any artist seemed to care as much about these gentle creatures.”
This exhibition will be open
June 7th, 2019 – July 27th, 2019
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 11-5 p.m. & by appointment.
For past exhibitions, please visit our archive.