April 2011: Anna Magruder & Willa Schneberg

Anna Magruder’s oil paintings drift between realism and surrealism, recreating vintage America, often exploring the emotional color of individual faces. This show presents all new work inspired by old travel photos. Anna is fascinated with the often, unexpected stories that emerge from the relationships created between the foreground subjects and background landscape. She looks for inspiration in the attitudes and poses of the photographed tourist. Her favorite subjects are people and animals and whatever lies between. Drifting between realism and surrealism, I love recreating vintage America, re-imagining the lives and stories of the characters on my canvas or just exploring the emotional color of faces in the crowd.

Willa Schneberg’s show is entitled “Objects of the Sacred and Profane”. Her ceramic sculptures are reflections of the sacred: Buddhist and Jewish ritual objects, and the profane: street venders of Cambodia, the women who make and sell fruit smoothies throughout a country that was once ravished by the Khmer Rouge, contrasted with the architecture of the former KZ camp, a place of death and resistance. The inspiration for these sculptures includes: the vajra or dorje of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, long considered a symbol of the indestructible nature of truth… Cases of fruits artfully displayed by Cambodian street vendors... Torah pointers or “yads” (Hebrew), which are employed when reading from the Old Testament… and the guard watchtowers of Auschwitz-Birkenau. These pieces are hand-built, low-fire, intimate works composed of white and terra-cotta clay, glazed, lustered, china-painted and brushed with stains. Clay and mud are basic, elemental, from them vessels can be shaped and flora of great beauty can emerge. The lotus flower motif informs Willa’s “Assemblages” and “Watchtowers.” A lotus flower rising up from the muck is a force of transformation and hope.