The Scott Center gallery at Carroll Community College will soon be filled with the shapes of petals and wishbones, tiny tree seedlings and swirling ribbons when the show “when words aren’t enough,” with paintings by Christine Mercer-Vernon, opens Feb 13.
As Mercer-Vernon worked on the paintings over the last year, part of her research for the paintings was a series of informal interviews with her loved ones. She asked them where they find hope and meaning in objects from the natural world. She found that people’s stories are extremely personal and shaped by family tradition or individual memory.
For one, finding a perfectly preserved feather reminded them of a lost loved one. But for others, feathers held different meanings. She researched some of the traditional symbolism of natural objects, but found that the deep and very personal meanings were stronger.
“It has been remarkable how joyful this group of paintings has been,” Mercer-Vernon said.
Her style of painting is narrative, telling story through elements like gesture, color and composition.
“I think it’s so hard for people to connect. And when people struggle with connection, it makes it so much harder for us to deal with our own emotions and what we’re feeling. This body of work really is very personal to the viewer and their journey, and so it really elicited some responses that I don’t think I’ve even prepared myself for,” she said.
Curator Jessi Hardesty said of the show, “Pennsylvania-based artist Christine Mercer-Vernon has spent the last year exploring humanity’s deep connection to the natural world. Her work is soft and approachable, hopeful and quiet. Combining minimalism, storytelling, and movement to present each narrative, Mercer-Vernon is able to provide a gentle entry point unique to each viewer that allows them to examine their own desire for inspiration and hidden meaning.”
Mercer-Vernon is a self-taught artist and a member of the American Women Artists non-profit organization. Her work has shown in galleries across the central east coast.
The opening reception, which runs 4-7 p.m. Feb. 13, is free and open to the public. There will be snacks and beverages. The exhibition is on view until April 4. The gallery is open during normal college hours.
You can find more of Mercer-Vernon’s work at mercer-vernon.com and on Instagram at @christinemv_painter.
If you go
What: Opening reception for “when words are not enough”