MARY ANN STRANDELL
West O, 3-D lenticular, 42″ x 32″
The Conversation exhibition activates a network of images and meanings consistent with the focus of Mary Ann Strandell’s work. The show explores Strandell’s evolving relationship between architecture, nature, and chinoiserie, expressed via ink drawings within lenticular prints and paintings. She uses these subjects along with diverse artistic production to examine a sense of time and place through location and history. Singular themed oil paintings of nature and architecture are presented along with the layered narratives of lenticular media. The Conversation demonstrates a prismatic relationship between these different subjects and medias.
The variety of Strandell’s work is captivating, woven through her polyglot style. While she continues the paintings of songbirds that many will find familiar, she adds magnolia blossom and tulip paintings that are framed very tightly as an exuberant expression of spring. These paintings are nature asserting itself in the city. Also included is an architectural structure rising up in the city as the expression of human nature, or the extension of humans in nature. It is in this painting that Strandell struggles with the boundaries of nature and culture. These architecture-related works in both paintings and lenticular prints work off each other. Both media are pictorial and algorithmic: the paintings are often disassembled and recapitulated into the lenticular media. This is part of The Conversation.
For example, two of the architectural lenticular works are of historic Kansas City buildings: Western Auto and Power and Light. Both of these works began as oil on canvas paintings. From these oils, Strandell interweaves the initial drawing of the subject, along with ink studies of the structure building from when it was under construction. It’s as if the buildings are dreaming their original skeleton, or that the skeleton is imaging its finished state. Each work contains an 18th century porcelain object that acts as a post script for the markings of trade and commerce.
The title of the show comes from her works that portray the 1970’s sunken couch called a conversation pit. This starts the collection of objects that make appearances throughout the works. The layered floating references include icons from other eras: a sputnik lamp, 15th century vase, cocktails, kitsch porcelain and modernist light fixtures. Often the lenticulars begin as singular painting, a stylized couch here, a conversation pit there, but recede into the backdrop while other collaged images float above.