Marica Perry sees the world with the eyes of a child and the wisdom of a wise man. She consumes color with all of her senses, giving her a wider palette from which to promote a kinder, more compassionate world through art. Her work is brilliant, whimsical, emotional, and at times sweet and ethereal. But still full of hope.
It was the motto, “Make art. Be Kind ”which laid the foundation for the Youth Arts Collective (YAC) in Monterey, a nonprofit organization that Perry and his wife, artist Meg Biddle, founded in 2000 to help instill creativity, kindness and love. confidence in adolescents, through art. Perry had already established herself as an artist, thanks to the nuanced airbrushing techniques of the fine art of marine and aviary, botanical and animal, and sometimes human imagery, all to celebrate “the wild spirit and the savage character of the spirit ”.
Yet for over 20 years Perry has focused on just about every waking (and sleeping) moment primarily on the hundreds of children they have raised thanks to the YAC. Finally, the colourist has decided to share her inspirations and results through “Rainbow Dance”, a solo art exhibition which opens at the Sylvan Gallery in Sand City on January 8.
“Marcia introduces such a playful use of color and the interplay of multiple mediums and multiple ways of presenting, which come together to create a body of art that is both contemporary and heartfelt,” said the director. from the Logan Norton Gallery. “A lot of people know Marcia as the Senior Mentor of the Youth Arts Collective art students, but may not know the depth and breadth of her own work, which is why we are so excited to be able to show it. . “
Perry decided to do the show because she recognizes that if she doesn’t continue to be an artist herself, she can’t encourage the “YACsters” she works with, in a genuine way, to pursue art.
“Taking the time to create my own art, to continue my practice,” she said, “keeps me from becoming an impostor. I am only an artist if I express it. For a long time I created something and then stored it, waiting for an opportunity like this exhibition. I am so excited to share my work again.
Color and composition
The title of Perry’s exhibition, “Rainbow Dance,” reflects the movement of color in his work. Renowned for the color saturation and intricacy of her paintings and prints, Perry now complements her work with detailed porcelain ceramic sculptures. It’s a medium she began exploring ten years ago, while taking ceramics classes at Monterey Peninsula College, taught by sculptor Peggy Alanis, who serves as a mentor at YAC.
“I wanted to introduce a ceramics department, at YAC,” said Perry, “so I needed to know how to work with the medium. I also refined my technique through a summer art program at CSU Monterey Bay. I pretty much broke every rule Peggy introduced, like starting with porcelain, the hardest clay to work with. Just like starting my career as a painter with an airbrush; I told myself that if I started with a difficult environment, I would progress faster.
Ten years later, Perry has a body of ceramic sculptures, much of which complements his paintings and engravings, worthy of an art installation.
“When I sculpt,” she said, “I like the feeling of crushing something in reality. It’s different from painting in 2D. It’s a very intuitive job, using both hands. to shape a piece of clay into something beautiful or meaningful. And I applied the airbrush of my paints to my sculpture, to achieve the same shading and layering effect that I get on the canvas. Because I’ve worked with it so much, I feel like it’s part of me, another appendix that I can use in a new way.
Perry typically airbrushes coats of color onto his sculpture, firing the piece after each glaze application, ultimately three or four fires, before the sculpture is complete.
“I used gold and also overglazed mother-of-pearl,” she said. “And, oh my god, the effect is really amazing.”
The result can be whimsical or ethereal, but always a study of color and composition.
“When I first started creating art,” said Perry, “I made a conscious decision to only do positive images, things that make people feel good. I seek the beautiful truth of nature, introducing more spiritual ideas into my work. I think there are enough harsh posts and pictures. I respect whatever other artists decide to do, but every time we create art instead of war, I agree with that.
Early childhood inspiration
The life Perry designed around art, she says, has always been about color, children and love – the things she loves most. Her career as an artist has also included children’s books, illustrated literature, such as her new book, “Maggie and Milly and Molly and May”, based on EE Cumming’s poem on the spectrum of emotional experiences in four young girls.
“I always care how a kid would feel when they looked at something,” said Perry, “which informs a lot of my work, especially my books.”
When he was teaching kindergarten years ago, Perry taught the sounds of each letter of the alphabet through alliteration and imagery, creating intricate paintings of animals to associate with each letter. In the end, she collected her paintings, which became murals in many nurseries, in her book “Here on Earth, an animal alphabet”, published in 2013 and available in her studio.
“As artists, we are obligated to make art, to visually express our experiences and emotions,” said Perry. “As I tell the kids at YAC, we all need to figure out what we are here to do and what we have to give, both of which are important. “
The exhibition “The Rainbow Dance” runs from January 8 to February 2 on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 pm at the Sylvan Gallery, 613 Ortiz Ave., #A, Sand City.