Mary Boochever & Artist Members Show Connect at Newly Renovated Guild Hall
Back and better than ever, the newly renovated Guild Hall in East Hampton has mounted their first Artist Members Exhibition since the upgrade, and 84th ever, along with a special show featuring painting and sculpture by 2019 Members Exhibition winner Mary Boochever of Sag Harbor.
Each year, Guild Hall’s wildly popular Artist Members Exhibition presents a survey of works by a wide range of talents, with membership being the only gatekeeper for participation. Awards are handed out to artists in a variety of categories, including Top Honors, which offers the recipient a show of their own in the Guild Hall galleries.
Boochever’s exhibition, Chart of the Inner Warp, is the result of that award, and it’s on display in an adjacent space to the Artist Members Exhibition. Both shows opened on October 29 and will remain on view through January 8.
The two exhibitions stand in sharp contrast to one another. One must proceed through a long room brimming with dozens of paintings and photographs hung salon style in a panoply of color, shape and texture to reach Chart of the Inner Warp, which is first revealed through an open archway as a series of colored horizontal stripes.
Once through, Boochever’s thoughtfully considered selection of seven works, including her colorful mural “Inner Landscape, Epsilon Naught,” presents something a bit stark and academic compared with the Members Show, but also beautiful and thought provoking. Looking at the pieces, arranged with plenty of room to breathe, it’s hard not to reflect on the unique spectrum of light in the East End sky. The subtle gradations of color are masterfully achieved using watery layers of house paint and a brush.
“I’ve used color gradation in my work a lot, but the work isn’t about color gradation, it’s about color,” Boochever says, describing this series as “Inner Landscapes” related more to the body and its connection to world outside of it. “I’m developing different themes about color and color systems that are attached to various socio-religious systems. I read a lot, and I’ll find something that I feel could be expressed in a visual way, and I’ll work on usually a series of paintings that are about that one theme,” the artist continues.
She says the mural is “based on a Chinese medical model which posits that there is a flow of energy through the organs of the body, and each organ has a designated color.” While those colors are seen most plainly in the mural, with its clean delineations, Boochever says all her Inner Landscapes use the same sequence of colors in different forms.
She’s also included a cast terracotta sculpture of two lions with a golden disk between them. “This is a play on the found object because it was made from lawn sculptures that are commonly found in our area, but it’s in the form of an Egyptian amulet,” Boochever explains. “It’s a solar disc and the double-headed lion is symbol of renewal and regeneration, which might be appropriate considering Guild Hall just went through a renovation,” she continues, adding, “In alchemy, the red lion symbolizes the completion of the great work, so there’s a little bit of humor.”
Close to the entrance, “Orea,” is something different. Boochever describes it as a hanging sculpture using oil painted on shaped linen on wood. It is the piece MoMA PS1 Assistant Curator Jocelyn Miller selected for Top Honors in 2019, earning her this exhibition.
“I was shocked and very happy, and also knowing that Jocelyn Miller sees a lot of work, and out of all of those she chose mine, I was very, very surprised and happy,” Boochever says, recalling the triumphant day. “It’s a great venue and open to everyone, very democratic,” she adds of the Artist Members Exhibition.
Guild Hall Artist Members Exhibition
This year, Ballroom Marfa Co-Founder & Board President Virginia Lebermann served as the Awards Juror, choosing Claire Watson’s “Bye Gone” assemblage, made of clothing remnants and gesso on canvas, as the Top Honors recipient. Various others were also given awards.
Lebermann awarded Honorable Mentions to Michael Butler for his acrylic painting “The Pepperidge Tree,” Philippe Cheng for an untitled work on sandpaper with archival inks, Isla Hansen for her mixed-media “Hand Tools (or Tools for No Masters)” made of stainless steel, thermoplastic and shown on wood, Mary Martha Lambert for her oil and charcoal “Revenant,” and Chris Siefert for his mixed-media “Rib.” Robert Longo received a Juror’s Special Award for “Untitled (After Cave Painting in Lascaux).”
“I’m excited by all the potential brewing at the newly refurbished Guild Hall,” Lebermann says in a press release announcing the winners. “The fertile history of this multi-disciplinary institution is being ushered forward with respect and style by its current Director, Andrea Grover and Director of Visual Arts, Melanie Crader,” who curated the Artist Members Exhibition.
All the works from the Artist Members Exhibition, including “Bye Gone,” are available for sale on the Guild Hall Shopify site, with prices ranging from $125 to $14,000.
Visit guildhall.org to learn more about these two exhibitions and related programming.