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Proof Perfect by Reni Gower - A Tony Hungerford Memorial Art Gallery Exhibition

Gallery display

Proof Perfect by Reni Gower
October 15 - November 8, 2018 in the Tony Hungerford Memorial Art Gallery, FA Building, La Plata Campus | Artist Lecture: November 8, CE, Room 101 at 2:30 p.m., reception following in FA lobby

Since ancient times geometric perfection (circle, square, and triangle) has been thought to convey sacred and universal truths by reflecting the fractal interconnections of the natural world.  One finds these similarities across cultures embedded in many diverse ethnic patterns. Incorporating these traditional designs into contemporary artwork promotes a collective perspective that strengthens cross-cultural bonds.  Given our troubled times, my work speaks to the shared legacy between the West and the Middle East with hope and optimism. Viewer response worldwide has confirmed the prevalent yet profound spiritual and emotional qualities of color, light, and pattern central to my art. As such, it is a perfect conduit for conversations that embrace cultural diversity through mindfulness and mutual respect.

Both meditative and prayerlike, my process incorporates slow work made by hand to counter visual skimming and to encourage a reflective response from the viewer.  Inspired by sacred geometry, I create interlocking stencils based upon Celtic knotwork and Islamic ornamental tiles.  These stencils are tiled into nine-square grids and cut out of Mylar.    For the papercuts, the design is hand cut into painted paper.  From behind, the color reflects through the cutwork.  For the pulped paintings, the stencils are used to mask the patterns onto handmade paper using pulp painting techniques.  For the GPS prints, acrylic paint is applied through the stencils onto a soft Gelli plate.  Burnishing transfers the shapes to paper.  Some of these works may be overprinted, hand painted or hand cut.  To create immersive installations, multiple units are installed 4” – 7” apart in large grid formations.     

Reni Gower is a Professor in the Painting and Printmaking Department at Virginia Commonwealth University.  In 2017, she was recognized with SECAC’s Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement. In 2014, she was also honored to receive the College Art Association’s Distinguished Teacher of Art Award, as well as Virginia Commonwealth University’s and VCUarts’ Distinguished Teaching Awards. She is the recipient of a NEA / SECCA Southeastern Artist Fellowship and several Virginia Commission for the Arts Project Grants.  In addition to her painting practice, she curates award winning traveling exhibitions that include Papercuts,FABRICation, Geometric Aljamía: a Cultural Transliteration, and Pulped Under Pressure: The Art of Handmade Paper.

Her art work is represented in many prestigious collections and has been exhibited at international and national venues for over 40 years, including the American Embassy in Vatican City, Rome, Italy; Total Gallery, Dubai, UAE; Landford120 Gallery, Melbourne, Australia; Galeria ICPNA Miraflores, Lima, Peru; Kimball Art Center, Park City, UT; Tinney Contemporary, Nashville, TN; Taubman Museum, Roanoke, VA; Noyes Museum, Hammonton, NJ; Villa Terrace Museum, Milwaukee, WI; Hunter Museum, Chattanooga, TN; and The Painting Center, New York, NY.  She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Syracuse University, a Master of Arts degree from University of Minnesota-Duluth, and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.