Lauren Davies, Lori Gordon, Amanda Hughen, Jeff Morris,
Sarah Smith, Andy Vogt, Arngunnur Yr
Shoebox Orchestra is an ensemble of artists who have been included in past shows under the direction of my father, former gallery director Bruno Mauro. I am honored and excited that this group of artists agreed to join me in the first show ampersand international arts has presented in two years.
Years ago Bruno suggested changing the gallery name. He felt “ampersands” were everywhere, and perhaps I should replace it with something completely different, something like “Shoebox Orchestra,” for example. After much thought I decided to keep the original name, ampersand international arts, because of the history and meaning it holds for me and so many others. His suggestion struck a chord while brainstorming for an all-inclusive title for this group show. Knowing this ensemble includes artists' pieces that are all very different from each other, but also work together in harmony within the eclectic gallery space, Shoebox Orchestra was produced.
These seven artists are some of the many talented artists whom I have watched evolve and grow alongside Bruno and the gallery. Each of these artists' presence in the gallery over the years resonated in my mind while working to reopen the gallery. They all utilize different mediums, but all incorporate heart & soul within their work. Their work processes and strong principles made it ideal to display them together for the first show under my direction.
Every piece has been made in the past two years, many finished in the past few months. Jeff Morris’ installation of string and found car parts and his meticulously crafted pencil drawings on paper highlight his attention to detail and playful vision. Arngunnur Yr’s landscape paintings inspired by her home country of Iceland depict rich vibrant colors and textures that are both joyful and dark. Sarah Smith’s gold leaf paintings of regal creatures on glass are elegant and enchanting. Lori Gordon’s watercolor portraits of musicians capture their essence in a magical way. Lauren Davies' rock formations transport you to an alternate reality where one questions what is natural or artificially produced. Andy Vogt’s transformation of cement, plaster and wood highlight the beauty and delicateness of the strong materials used. Amanda Hughen’s screen-printed images of eye-catching jewelry ads from the New York Times covers underline some readers' ability to retreat from the importance of the often-devastating headlines. From painting to sculpture, mixed media installation to works on paper, the variety of mediums and inspirations of these seven artists encapsulate the excellence that ampersand international arts continues to encourage.
Having had the extraordinary opportunity to work and thrive alongside Bruno and ampersand international arts has been a rare privilege that I will never be taken for granted. I am fortunate that Bruno’s love and curiosity for the arts has been passed down to me and it is my goal to make sure the gallery space continues to celebrate unique art and artists as it promised when the gallery first opened in 1999.
Curator of Shoebox Orchestra
Director of ampersand international arts, 2014