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Mary Stoppert - Relics and Reliquaries

On Display: January 24, 2013 – March 15, 2013

Artist Reception January 25, 2013 5-7pm
Fermilab Art Gallery, Wilson Hall

After earning her MFA in Sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Mary Stoppert was a Professor of Art at Northeastern Illinois University for thirty years, chairing the art department for two years, and serving as gallery director for fifteen years. Stoppert's lengthy exhibition history includes the New Museum in New York, The Art Institute and Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and nearly all points between. Stoppert was a founding member of Artemisia Gallery and also the Chicago Women's Caucus for Art. She is the recipient of many awards, including an NEA grant, the Art Institute of Chicago's John G. Curtis Prize and the Frank G. Logan Award. Her work is in many private and public collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), Cincinnati Museum of Art, and the State of Illinois. In addition, Stoppert has served as an instrumental advisor, curator, and mentor to Woman Made Gallery, Chicago and gallery staff since its inception.

Artist Statement
Having been an artist for over thirty years, this recent work has qualities and elements that speak to that experience. Educated as a sculptor, I am naturally attracted to three-dimensional form. I have collected, produced and restored objects over that time period. I have traveled to Latin America to buy and collect ethnographic objects. I cannot always explain what it is that draws me to an object, it speaks to me aesthetically and I respond.

A reliquary (also referred to as a shrine, chasse or monstrance) is a container for relics. These may be the physical remains of saints, such as bones, pieces of clothing, or some object associated with saints or other religious figures. (Wikipedia)

I am especially partial to objects with a history, a patina of time and use. In the Rituals and Reliquaries series, I part with some objects that I have had for almost forty years. It is bittersweet parting with them, but I believe I have created suitable environments for each object to continue on in a new and more exalted context.

Each piece is unique because I begin with an object and build the piece around it. I develop each reliquary as though someone else is making it for him or herself or a valued person. All objects are genuine and authentic, not reproductions. All objects are as found they have been not altered except to permit display.

Relics and Reliquaries is my second and most current reliquary series. Each found item that I used has as its premise or inspiration, the element or function of measure: time; distance; space; surface. My fascination with devices that measure became apparent when working on Tirettes Epuise'es, the first piece in the series. My studio and woodshop has always been full of measuring devices. I have watched the evolution to digital devices over the last few years and realize that most of them will be obsolete. With this realization, I began to look for tools and devices that could be considered a relic if not now, in the very near future.

To see more of Mary's artwork


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last modified 1/18/2013   

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