Gerry Tuten, New Paintings at Gallery at 919 Market, Wilmington
“My painting is a venture inside and outside of myself seeking freshness and change. I thrive on challenge, action and awakening in my painting. I am intensely curious, exploring the micro and macro levels of the natural ecology. When the image begins to “break up” or erupt, my excitement rises. I transfer this excitement and freedom to the viewer through movement, color and texture of paint over surfaces. Here in the process of painting I allow myself to break all the rules. Trusting my intuition I can let go of the “work of art”. The painting is just a place to free myself – to surrender to process. The medium of paint speaks stronger than words. Clarity is distilled out of movement and change. The paintings come as gifts.” – Gerry Tuten artist statement
To have your art displayed in an elegant interior decorated with the finest of materials and a constant flow of visitors is probably the dream of most artists. Gerry Tuten was offered just that opportunity by the gallery that represents her artwork, Carspecken Scott Gallery, and the results are beautiful. The Gallery at 919 Market is in the lobby of Citizens Bank in Wilmington, Delaware, the expansive walls are wood and marble, the ceilings are high and the lighting is wonderfully diffused without hot spots or glare. The height of the walls allows each of the large paintings to display without crowding and the selection of twenty-one paintings are bright and lush creating an atmosphere of nature and seasonal change.
I talked with Laurel Christie, the representative from Carspecken Scott Gallery about the luxurious art space and she explained how the art show came about.
“The gallery changes out work every two months and this has become a second home for us to exhibit. Our gallery is at 1707 N. Lincoln Street, Wilmington, DE 19806, close to Trolley Square and it’s been there for over thirty-five years. This is kind of a new venture for us showing work in this lovely space. We thought we would try it and see if we would have any success with it and we have, we have had a great response and we’ve sold some paintings.This show will be up through all of April and May and most of June. We have shown Gerry’s work at our gallery before and we just really like her work; we’ve known her for a long time. We told her about this space and she said, ‘Oh! I have all these large paintings.’ We thought it would be a really good fit, and it is!”
Gerry Tuten became associated with Carspecken Scott Gallery through a friend of Fred Carspecken and has been represented by the established gallery for many years. The artist and I talked about her career and her artwork.
“I went to Tyler School of Art, I was blessed to be out at Elkins Park, that was really nice to be out in the country. And I did a reverse commute, during the day I would be there and then at night come back to the city for activities and sleep. So, it wasn’t a bad commute. I’ve been painting for my whole life, I’ve been in the arts for my whole life. I’m a visual person, but, I guess, I’ve taken different tangents. I’ve done metal smithing, and clay, I’ve worked in a lot of different mediums but after having cancer I decided to do something that wasn’t quite as toxic. So, that’s why I use acrylics.”
We high-fived since I’m a survivor, too.
“When you think that your life is on the line, you think, ‘What do I really want to be here for?’ I’m grateful now that that came, to wake me up. It raised my consciousness about what I wanted to be here for.”
The art on display at Gallery at 919 Market is expressive and atmospheric bordering on abstraction. I asked Gerry about her style of painting?
“You know? Fred picks what he wants and what he thinks he can sell, too. He came to my studio and picked what he thought would look good for this show. I probably would have put more of a variation of abstract things and more emotional work, too. But, that wasn’t his pick. Everybody’s different.”
Well, it’s great to have someone like that to guide your way. I do see some floral work and landscape even though they’re expressionist.
“Yeah! I love gardening. The ideas come both from life and my head. I like to paint outside by a pond or near the ocean. But, I don’t like people to interrupt because I go into a kind of a state when I paint. So, it’s nice to have the door closed and not be disturbed. I have a place I can go up in North Pennsylvania to paint that way, but I don’t like plein air because then people are going to stop you on the street and say, ‘What are you doing?’ I would love that, if I wasn’t interrupted.”
I told Gerry about plein air painter Ed Bronstein, the well known Philadelphia artist, who loves to paint and also loves to talk. He never seems disturbed by curious onlookers and easily paints while he chats.
“On YouTube I saw a video of an artist who had an old car with a lot of brushes and paints. He would park his car and set up his easel and then when people started to talk to him he’d give the kids brushes and say, ‘Paint my car.’ So that would be a great way to delegate,it could be fun. I haven’t gotten there yet but it’s good idea.”
I asked about the artist’s medium, the description says acrylic but the results are very rich and layered.
“I use acrylic but sometimes there is oil on top, or seeds or whatever come up. I’ve done collage and there is some mono-prints here.”
The lotus-like flowers in the mono-prints have a timeless, ethereal quality. The prints are created by running the acrylic plates through a press using akua inks which are non-toxic, then layered with collaged paper and added color. Lotus pods are symbols of everlasting life since the seeds can lay dormant for ages and each iteration of the print adds to the first with new colors, shapes and scratched away surface.
I asked Gerry Tuten about the state of mind she goes into when she paints.
“Well, I teach yoga, too. So, I guess I really like to quiet my mind in order to think of the studio as a sacred space to enter. And then whatever comes up, comes and I let something flow through me. Instead of having something planned.”
About Carspecken Scott Gallery
“For over 30 years Carspecken-Scott Gallery has exhibited artwork by contemporary Eastern and Mid-Atlantic artists. We provide outstanding conservation/restoration & framing services for all types of artwork with specialized emphasis on properly framing works for future preservation. We provide French mats, fabric wrapped mats, finished corner frames and all traditional and modern mouldings, matting and glass. We are also pleased to offer picture hanging services for the home & office in the Wilmington, Delaware and surrounding areas.”
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Written and photographed by DoN Brewer except where noted.
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