“Rapture”, “Girl with Checkered Past”, Uptown Girl”, “Grid Girl, “Sophisticated Lady”, “Woman through the Window”, are but a few of Zacharia’s evocative titles for her highly intricate and accomplished body of ceramic sculptures. Hinting at the artist’s busy life on the big grid of Manhattan – and perhaps, her previous 10-year professional identity as a performing singer-songwriter – this musical and visual artist marries her artistic passions in her lyrical artwork full of jazzy patterns, contrapuntal rhythms and layered colors. Zacharia’s 2012 exhibition at the Patina Gallery in Santa Fe, unabashedly referenced her affinity with the early 20th century painter Paul Klee, with the title “Speaking of Klee” acknowledging their mutual playfulness and overlapping imagery; game boards, checked grids and stylized faces. Like the Ginger Rogers comparison with Fred Astaire (dancing backwards and in heels), Sheryl Zacharia does it in clay: in three dimensions and at high temperatures. Her love of ancient relics manifests in her work, in the complex surface textures and the seemingly-decipherable scriptures in her surface squiggles – the messages are embedded, stamped, and scratched into the clay body.
The work of local DC-area artist, Stacy Snyder, pairs nicely with that of Zacharia. Her terra cotta architectural vessels also use the technique of decorating the surface with images and patterns that play off the form rather than underlining it. She uses stencils and glaze colors that jump off the vessel’s surface, creating her own lively language of hieroglyphics on a textured, earthy, canvas of clay.
In concert with these two fine ceramic artists, painter Angie To, a Chinese-Canadian artist working in the US, paints oversized, abstracted patterns from nature into an overall dizzying surface that she covers with multiple layers of glaze-like resin. Her reflective works on panel, thus feel very contemporary, and contrast with the earthy sensuous quality of the ceramics. The slick surfaces create a visual tension with the soft gentle leaf shapes.
Cross Mackenzie Gallery is proud to present these artists together in an exhibition that showcases their individual talents and shared sensibilities.