June 1, 2015 – Dallas – JM Gallery at One Arts Plaza opens its doors from June 13 – July 25, 2015 to a new exhibit featuring the works of ceramicist Doug Gray and photographer Shawn Saumell. Focused on featuring works on paper and sculpture, through this new exhibit JM Gallery challenges the perceived reality of the world around us by showcasing these two talented artists and their unique techniques and approaches to how we see art.
Doug Gray is inspired by the often overlooked beauty in our everyday surroundings such as the color of moss, the texture of bark, and the sound of water. Many of his pieces are figurative images of nature, yet they are not “naturalistic.” The figures in Fledgling and Nesting, for example, though clearly birds, are birds without beaks, wings, or details of any kind. Presented as smooth, clean forms, they capture universal themes and convey human dialog and interactions. The birds become people — flawed, fragile and imperfect — trying to establish, maintain, or resurrect connections with each other. His other works, while more abstract, also evoke universal feelings. The process of concealing and revealing space intrigues him.
Informed by Fibonacci, Hieronymus Bosch, Edgar Allan Poe, Jan Van der Straet, Jean Baudrillard, Theodor Geisel, Plato, Gustave Dore, Dante Alighieri, CS Lewis, Peter Bruegel, ancient history, literature, theology, psyschology, and philosophy, Shawn Saumell’s new work, Ascension explores perception, reality, and existence.
Saumell‘s otherworldly scenes layered upon esoteric semiotic symbolism are researched, designed, and sculpted from found objects, painted, composed, and then photographed. The unseen world becomes visible. The tableaux still life maquettes are not what they appear at first glance. The detail is hyperreal and the imagery is surreal. Humanoid mannequins occupy these Seussian wonderlands in parallel dimensions or imagination. “The hyperreal may become an anomaly by the way of the familiar. The familiar is woven together by the unfamiliar. The unfamiliar, by way of perception and memory, becomes familiar,” says Saumell. The narratives and meta-narratives in Shawn’s work are left to the spectators’ interpretation.
An opening artist reception will be held on Saturday, June 13 from 5pm – 8pm at JM Gallery. Guests are invited to meet Doug Gray and Shawn Saumell, explore their work and experience the world as we know it, through their eyes. An artist talk with Shawn Saumell is also scheduled for June 25 from 6pm – 8pm at the gallery.
ABOUT JM GALLERY // JM Gallery offers works of art on paper and sculptural forms that engage both the eye and the mind. The gallery promotes artists who create smart, visually compelling work and showcases their art in a space that is inviting and accessible. JM Gallery is committed to working closely with artists as they develop their work and careers and to developing lasting relationships with collectors. In collaboration with area schools and non-profits, they enrich the creative community by teaching artists and collectors about navigating the complex world of art.
ABOUT DOUG GRAY // Doug Gray is the Peter D. Hyman Professor of Fine Arts at Francis Marion University in Florence, South Carolina. He holds an MFA in Ceramics and Art History from the University of North Texas and a BA in Ceramics and Creative Writing from the University of Louisville. Doug’s work has been exhibited in juried and invitational exhibitions across the nation. it has also appeared in several periodicals and books including Pottery Making Illustrated, Ceramics Monthly, Clay Times, Southen Living and the Lark Books’ 500 Series.
ABOUT SHAWN SAUMELL // Shawn Saumell obtained his BFA from Texas Women’s University, magna cum laude, and his MFA from Lesley University College of Art and Design fka The Art Institutue of Boston at Lesley University. In 2010, he was one of the Top 50 MFA Painters and a finalist for the Hunting Art Prize. His numerous international awards include Director’s Choice, First Place, Best of Show and Photographer of the Year. Shawn’s work can be found in private and public collections including The State of New Mexico, NM; the Boston Public Library, MA; the Limner Gallery, NY; Center for Fine Art Photography, CO; Shah Alam Gallery, Malaysia; and the Mulafoco Museum, Uruguay.