From 5 to 10 p.m. this Friday, May 1, the Maria Neil Art Project debuts the first solo exhibition by Barbara Stanford, as part of May’s Walk All Over Waterloo. This will be the first commercial gallery exhibition for an artist relatively unknown in the art community. Despite creating work for herself and selected juried shows for nearly twenty years, Imperceptible Paradigm includes nearly two decades worth of work on display to the public for the very first time. Stanford’s work seeks to engage the audience in hopes of better understanding our bodies, both inside and out.
Upon initial inspection, it seems easy to relate the imagery to biomedical art, but there’s much more going on in these works.
“Whatever you do, don’t call Barbara’s work medical,” says Maria Neil gallerist Adam Tully, “though the term might come in handy, her work goes far beyond such a simplistic description. Given her body of work that will be exhibited at Maria Neil Art Project, Stanford often struggles to engage the viewer to see more than just the elements of a particular piece. In creating these intricate and colorful works, her hope is that we realize that we retain ownership of our bodies and better understand them within and without.”
Stanford’s work explores both the physical and intangible nature of our beings.
“The majority of people willfully and blissfully remain in denial and ignorance of the contents of the ‘house’ they are living in,” explains Stanford. “Walking around in, sleeping in, etc., every second of their earthly existence. We have been so accustomed and even trained to leave all this to the doctors that I consider artistically confronting people with their own physical makeup to be the equivalent to breaking a long held taboo, much like the advent of psychotherapy revealing the unconscious with all its dark and frequently unsavory aspects.”
“Emotion runs heavy in every brush stroke,” adds Tully. “Every bone, nerve ending and muscle is recreated with the understanding that there is greater meaning to them besides the obvious. All mediums are open for exploration, and in every new experience is another piece to the bigger puzzle.”
Imperceptible Paradigm runs through June 14. Additional viewing hours are Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m., or by appointment. Free.
(Maria Neil Art Project) 15813 Waterloo Rd., 216-481-7722, marianeilartproject.com.