About her recent work, Mary Vernon states, "I hope to prove this to you: drawing and painting are holding each other tightly, constantly interfering with each other. It's not that drawing is first and painting is last. It is not exactly that drawing is the truth and painting is the lie that we prefer. It is not at all that drawing is the outline and painting is the coloring-in. The two acts, drawing and painting, get in each other's way at every moment."
This exhibition celebrates Mary Vernon's 50 years on the faculty at SMU. A legendary professor, Mary Vernon taught art history, painting, drawing, and color theory to thousands of students. University students voted Vernon their favorite professor at SMU for ten consecutive years. In recognition, the Mary Vernon Painting Prize has been announced by the Meadows School of the Arts.
In Glasstire, Michael Frank Blair writes, "The bright paintings on view at Valley House continue a strategy Vernon has employed for years, of documenting space, color and experience. Hers is a relentless practice, like breathing, that constantly finds new ways of consuming her surroundings. The paintings open onto each other - not as closed statements, but sketches in motion. They accumulate and resolve, but are always trying something, risking something, asking something."
Blair continues, "I think Vernon's legacy is living a certain kind of humanist ideal that holds that the product of work is always a more enlightened humanity. Vernon's oeuvre performs the tenet that our embodied minds are the correct locus of thinking, task mastering, vision, memory, and forging meaning. Her paintings are aides to this meaning-making, but not the end result. They are evidence of thought and play in which she synthesizes externally the work generated internally. There are inputs and outputs, but with the product of the machine being the growth and continual perfecting of the machine itself. And the machine is always people."