A Snowman Cares for our Memory of Water: Mary Ann Papanek-Miller
March 6 – June 13, 2009
Artist Reception and Gallery Talk: March 6, 5-8 PM
A Snowman Cares Members Only Party: March 11, 5-7 PM
Missoula Art Museum (MAM) is honored to present A Snowman Cares for our Memory of Water: Mary Ann Papanek-Miller which celebrates the work of this highly accomplished artist. The work in this exhibition utilizes line and a variety of mixed media processes with a strong vocabulary of painting. A deep spiritual attitude is revealed in this work as Papanek- Miller studies the philosophical nature of time and the conflict of popular culture clashing with a concern for the earth.
Papanek-Miller incorporates the technique of isolating an object, often a mass produced toy or phenomena, creating a drawing or other visual record, and subsequently creating
compositions by arranging and layering those images. Through this layering, new meanings and associations emerge. There a dialogue begins between the viewers and the different, sometimes disparate symbols layered and juxtaposed.
Arguably because of television and, increasingly the computer screen, the audience has been conditioned to accept the moving image as a way of consuming visual imagery. The layering in Papanek-Miller’s works lead the viewer and encourage him or her not to think of the activities in an isolated sense but as a process and as an interrelated experience. Her process urges us not to just look, but to slow down and go beyond, to contemplate a deeper experience of seeing, and, recognize the lessons we know and can draw from art.
Through layering and exploring symbol interrelationships, Papanek-Miller incorporates the familiar in a ritual of re-examination and re-contextualizing. She makes use of a limited palette and values, and graphic lines are bounced off muted colors. The foundation she works upon is a surface that has been weathered and nature itself has left what she calls an “environmental imprint.”
Papanek-Miller incorporates reflections from childhood stories, songs, and rhymes which reveal a deep concern for the environment. Her extensive toy collection is the basis for her environmental concerns. She states, “I continue to be attracted to toys as social barometers and cultural souvenirs. I believe that toys are beautiful and magical objects and that they bridge our many cultures and age groups as ‘contemporary amulets’ and ‘time devices’ serving as truthful conceptual tools.”
Mary Ann Pananek-Miller was born near Chicago, Illinois. She was a Department Chair at The University of Montana from 2005 to 2008. Currently she is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Art Media and Design at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. She has exhibited widely across the country. MAM wishes to acknowledge the generous loan of works from the Montana Museum of Art and Culture to help make this exhibition possible. The exhibition will be the educational foundation for the Fifth Grade Art Experience and is co-sponsored by the Art Associates of Missoula. The exhibition is also generously supported with a grant from the Art Associates of Missoula.
Missoula Art Museum (MAM)