Symbolic Convergence

Front Room Gallery

Jul. 13, 2024 - Sep. 1, 2024

205 Warren Street
Hudson, 12534
PHONE 718-782-2556

“Symbolic Convergence”
featuring works by
Ken Butler, Linda Ganjian, and Melissa Murray.

July 13th- September 1st, 2024
Opening Reception Saturday, July 13th, 4-6PM
In this three person exhibition each artist has taken a different approach to the use of symbolism and collage. Ken Butler is renowned for his innovative approach to creating hybrid sculpture-instruments. He merges disparate elements such as lawn mowers and machine guns, skillfully grafting them together to produce multifaceted and functional sculptures. These unique creations not only challenge traditional notions of musical instruments but also serve as artistic statements that blend form and function in unexpected and thought-provoking ways. Butler’s work invites viewers to reconsider the boundaries between art, music, and everyday objects, showcasing his creativity and craftsmanship. Linda Ganjian’s artworks, spanning both sculptural pieces and works on paper, captivate with their ornate and symmetrical designs. Her works incorporate a diverse array of media, including postcards, worry beads, pills, books, and prayer books, among other elements. This eclectic mix of materials lends richness and depth to Ganjian’s compositions, inviting viewers into a world where meticulous craftsmanship and symbolic layers intertwine. Through her art, Ganjian explores themes of memory, culture, and spirituality, offering a visual narrative that resonates with both complexity and beauty. Unlike traditional collage, Melissa Murray constructs her compositions entirely within her mind. This internal process allows her to envision and arrange seemingly unrelated objects in ways that suggest narrative and emotional connections. Her artworks often feature objects placed on tabletops or floating in space, creating a dreamlike or surreal atmosphere. This approach not only challenges the boundaries of traditional still life painting but also infuses her work with a sense of poetic ambiguity and visual intrigue. Moreover, Murray’s paintings transcend mere representation by imbuing her subjects with personal symbolism and emotional resonance. Each composition becomes a reflection of her inner world, where memories, emotions, and everyday objects converge to evoke deeper meanings.

Linda Ganjian’s work, comprising collages, patterned landscapes, and wall-based reliefs, embodies a fusion of architectural and sculptural elements, deeply influenced by her Middle Eastern heritage. Her intricate miniature cities serve as symbolic representations of her personal and communal histories. These detailed works reflect the rich tradition of storytelling found in the ornamental designs of oriental rugs and the intricate architectural details of mosques and temples. Through their high level of ornamentation, Ganjian’s pieces convey complex narratives rooted in historical and communal experiences.
In her relief series, Ganjian memorializes her grandmother, an Armenian immigrant from Istanbul who was a renowned seamstress and deeply devout. Drawing inspiration from the intricate designs of Eastern Orthodox medieval reliquaries, Ganjian maps out prayers in her grandmother’s honor. She incorporates reproductions from her grandmother’s prayer books, along with found and crafted elements connected to her grandmother’s profession, such as velvet, pins, and clay representations of fabric and trim. These elements come together to create a poignant tribute that blends personal history with cultural and religious symbolism.

Ganjian’s collages create a devotional space that merges medieval and futuristic elements. The structures in these works intentionally oscillate between resembling architecture, altars, totems, and diagrams. These collages also reference her grandmother and her dressmaking, weaving personal history with artistic expression. Elements like vine-like forms and the use of gold evoke the aesthetic of medieval Armenian manuscripts, adding a layer of cultural heritage and reverence to the work. This blend of past and future, personal and cultural, imbues her collages with rich, multifaceted symbolism.

Ken Butler is a groundbreaking artist known for pushing the boundaries of both visual and musical art. With a flair for the unconventional, Butler’s work often combines everyday objects with unexpected elements, creating pieces that are as thought-provoking as they are visually striking. His instruments are not only playable but also serve as commentary on societal norms and human experiences. Created primarily from urban detritus, the hybrid instruments express a poetic spirit of reinvention and hyper-utility with hidden meanings and associations. String instruments become body, tool, weapon, toy, symbol, machine, phallus, creature, sculpture, icon, and voice.

“Symbolic Convergence” showcases a diverse array of instruments created by Butler, blending humor, sensuality, and an undercurrent of menace. The collection spans from intricately complex pieces like the “Red Lawnmower with Guns” to simpler creations such as the “Crocodile Violin.” Each piece challenges conventional perceptions of musical instruments, inviting viewers to explore the intersection of art, function, and emotion.

Melissa Murray’s still life paintings are rooted in domestic interiors and exteriors, embodying deeply personal and metaphorical environments. Each piece captures moments from her life, created in the intimate setting of her small black cottage in the Catskill Mountains. Murray describes the house as a living, breathing entity that stores emotionally charged objects. For her, old memories are reactivated upon each visit and paused when she leaves, giving her art a poignant, narrative quality.

Murray’s paintings pay homage to the symbolism of Vanitas, presenting a collection of coded observations and tributes to bonded relationships. Her imagery, drawn from meditation and dreams, operates outside the rationality of conscious, waking life, much like dreams themselves. Murray’s symbols often originate from the natural world and her daily life, including elements like patterned fabrics, tools, candles, vessels, and heads of garlic. These symbols, infused with personal significance, enrich her still lifes with layers of meaning and emotional depth.

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