Established Gallery is proud to present making meaning mine, a solo show by Beverly Crilly. This is Beverly's first solo with Established Gallery. The exhibition will open on Friday, November 3rd and run through Sunday, December 10th. An opening reception will be held on Friday, November 3rd from 6:30-9pm.
When hiking or walking along a beach, I collect rocks and always return with pockets full of treasure. Seeing, noticing, and holding these small details amidst the grandness of nature engages my ‘seeing eye’ and quiets my busy mind. Once home, collected in vessels around the house, the rocks serve as a reminder of walks taken, paths explored, and offer a sensory recall of my mind slowly clearing as I explored the often spectacular places in my own quiet, small way.
One place that I collect rocks is in the mountains of Colorado. Those mountains that I’ve visited for the past 30 years hold so much: love, partnership, deep friendships, beauty, laughter, and lots of rocks.
When invited to visit a decommissioned limestone mine in Southwest Colorado, I went with zero hesitation and lots of curiosity. The invite was to view an art installation of sound and light inside the mine Fluid State by Chromosonic. The installation was incredible and truly challenged my perception of space through sound and light. The experience left me with a deep appreciation of the mine itself and how it shifts reality. In summer, the mine is 15 degrees cooler than outside and immediately upon entering I was enveloped in quiet and darkness, a deprivation chamber that settled and primed my mind for experiences anew. This is In sharp contrast to the experience of a working mine, which is loud, busy, and reverberating with the violence of extraction. A working mine takes the value of the place. This decommissioned mine invited the making of value, of meaning. Upon exiting the mine, I blinked into the bright sunshine of the summer day. I saw the environs of the mine entrance with fresh eyes, the mine having altered me. What was earlier just another dirt road with mining debris, welding equipment, rusting cars, scrap metal, and various metal structures in progress, now came into sharp focus as precious: a gateway to treasure, the ledge of rocks an endless collection of stunning variety and proportion framed by the materials of work.
The balances of busy/still, engage/escape, and work/rest profoundly challenge us. We choose to make meaning daily in our routines, our actions, and particularly our creations. As artists, each time we move paint, make a photo, build with ceramics, or carve into stone we are making meaning, consciously or not. Making art, for me, began because the creative process was good for my mental health. The open-ended nature of making art is a way of quieting my brain and allowing background noises to recede. It permits a less chaotic, more peaceful, and more attuned sense of the world to emerge. I make meaning of my experience by finding the line, the beauty, and the quiet in this chaotic world. As viewers and consumers of art we also make meaning. What we see and assign importance or emotion to is what makes art valuable and essential.
Often it feels that I find my work in the world around me: the aged, chipped paint on a factory door; the lichen on a boulder; textured stones; shaped rocks; the play of shadows and light. That summer day, exiting the mine and seeing such treasure was an affirmation that beauty exists and it is ours to see. In this show, I am holding onto and sharing the beauty and meaning found as I emerged into the sun from the impossibly dark, vast, softness of the mine. I am acknowledging the beauty and meaning that is always there when we can attune to feel it.
Beverly Crilly works and lives in Brooklyn with her husband and three children. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from SUNY Binghamton and a Master’s degree in Elementary Education from City College. She wishes to thank her numerous teachers including Rebecca Crowell and Robert Weatherford at the Ah Haa School for the Arts in Telluride, Colorado. She has also taken classes at SVA, Pratt Institute, and the New York Academy of Art. Bev’s solo shows include Place at Adler Gallery in Port Washington, NY, Sediment at On Main in Telluride CO, and Internal Landscapes at Curtis Gallery in New Canaan CT.