La Macina di San Cresci



6 – 29 August 2015
Mary Wells
The solo exhibition ‘MARY WELLS. Paper mosaics’ is divided in two parts. The exhibition is about her last

 works and project but also about Mary herself and her personal view and sensitivity of the world around her.
In a smaller room we decided to exhibit some works that she made last year during her stay at La Macina. These works show Mary’s sensitivity and eye for composition, her attention to the details, colors and light and shade. There’s no human presence in them but some objects, buildings, the care of the gardens and the countryside tell us something about the humans presence. They aren’t remote, wild or abandoned places but pieces of nature gently touched by the hands of men and women.
On the other hand in the main room we have the work of Mary’s last project that takes inspiration from a series of 55 Japanese woodblock prints created by Utagawa Hiroshige, a Japanese ukiyo-e artist considered the last great master of that tradition, that record his 55 day walk from Kyoto to Tokyo in 1855. Mary made a series of 18 individual paper mosaics, with each completed mosaic representing one day of a 200 mile hike she took across England with her husband several summer ago from the Irish Sea to the North Sea.
Using images primarily derived from photographs she has taken, she incorporates some aspect of landscape, memory and journey into all of her work. Some are glimpses of places she has been and seen only once; others are of places she has lived or revisited a number of different times. She says “as I work I am focused on the time and place I am recreating. Each mosaics serves as a journal entry, marking a moment and containing a story from my life. As a group, my mosaics form a visual journal of my life, graphic souvenirs of my memories. In this series each of the mosaics represents one day on this moderately difficult journey”.
This series also marks a departure from her established technique. These mosaics begin with an acrylic painting on paper that she then embellishes with added paper tesserae of various sizes and shapes. About her last works Mary says “My tools and materials are simple, but my work is meticulous, time consuming, and emotionally intense. Each of the 18 paper mosaics in the series measures 11× 8 inches. Completed they form a chronological sequence of images starting on the west coast of England on the Irish Sea and continuing east to the North Sea. By painting my own papers I am able to adapt my palette and textures to resonate with the colors and surfaces of the place I am portraying. For this series my palette is based on the pigments used by Hiroshige and his compatriots”.


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