Standing the Abstract: Sculpture, Paintings and Drawings by Mary-Ann Prack



Appalachian State University

Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, NC

Through March 23

Boone, NC—Standing Still … in the Abstract, the title of this dramatic and colorful multi-discipline exhibition, elegantly captures the essence of this collection of 51 figurative works by Canadian-born artist Mary-Ann Prack. Her sculptures and paintings are crisp and powerful abstractions of the human figure, but strongly resonate the very real emotional experience of being human.  What makes Prack's work distinctive is how she transforms raw clay and metal into artwork, each with it's own individual presence, spirit, timelessness and mystery.

Her stoneware clay and metal sculptures and mixed media paintings are shaped and colored intuitively, but have an infinite range of shapes, colors, details and sizes; no two alike nor with a normal front and back.  There always seems to be a surprise "on the other side" as if one figure embodies two distinctly different people.

This exhibition has brought together several different design directions that Prack has followed over the past thirty years, including works with primary color and monotone surfaces; sculpture with fired glaze, cold colors and patina oxidized metal surfaces; as well as paintings with mixtures of oil, acrylic, oil pastel and graphite. Each work exhibits a total understanding of the materials, underlying structure, quality in workmanship, and application of the finish and linear surface designs and all with a precisely balanced articulation between the many essential details.               

Especially interesting are the patina oxidized monotone sculptures including The Point Of Balance (2013), a large scale (Ht. 8’-0”) fired-clay and steel figurative artwork that seemingly balances upon a single point; Seeing Beyond (2009), a fired-clay and iron oxide -composite standing female figure (Ht. 4’–0”); and With An Open Heart (2006), a fiberglass and iron oxide-composite standing figure on an integral base (Ht. 6’-0”).    

Another notable series includes the exhibitions namesake sculpture Standing Still (2012, fired-clay); also Being The Moon (2012, fired-clay), and Finding Equilibrium (2008, fired-clay).  This group of works reflects Prack’s continuing exploration in sculpture with gloss-glazed primary color surface treatments.

Perhaps the most elegant of the glazed sculptural works is Inanna (2010, fired clay with glaze and mixed media finish), a bold, abstract Black and White work reminiscent of classic, ancient Middle Eastern sculpture.  Significantly, all of the artwork exhibited has a sense of pure harmony and balance with each other; and each reveals the relentless positive spirit of the artist.



                                                                                                 Press Release by William F. Maler



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