Bio & Notes on Fugue States Painting, April 2918

Painting processes are still inspired by musical structures & the physicality which are core elements of dance methods. This originates in several years of early ballet study and choreographic processes which included “Riffle” set to Stravinsky’s “Ragtime” and choreography for Camus’ “Caligula.”

I worked as a theatrical, garment and fabric designer, also in San Francisco in the 70’s and 80”s. These experiences are also foundational to my present day practice.  As a garment designer in San Francisco, I studied at the Salinger Academy and participated in several of the theatrical presentations of designers flourishing there at the time. I developed several painting processes as a fabric designer for my garments, including a rorschached line drip, shibori, silkscreen, and designs with brushes. My first design project was the tree, for a feminist version of “Waiting for Godot” .

I arrived in Troy four years ago after painting in the deep south for over two decades. Originally a fifth generation San Franciscan, in the 80’s I first began exhibiting and curating large group shows of diverse artists there including Steve Arnold, Bruce Conner, and S Clay Wilson. In Naples Florida, I am the founder of the “West Wing Art Project” which was the first national contemporary nonprofit gallery in Naples Florida in the 90’s. Curatorial projects in Florida continued with artists including Robert Rauschenberg & Walter Darby Bannard. Curatorial projects paralleled my studio practice periodically from 1986 until 2004.

In my paintings the elements of dance, stage and music are congruent with the trio of movement in painting (dance), the painting plane or surface (stage) and harmonic patterning (music). 

The  contrapuntal fugue form is compatible with my natural preference to syncopation and inclination to work in harmony within structures that are as free as possible & containing complex elements, yet rooted in simplicity.

The title “Fugue States” is applicable also because the title is reminiscent of a psychiatric diagnosis, with the important qualification that these works speak of experiencing the clarity of detachment and expansion rather than dissociation which is folded in on itself.

The paintings are inspired by musical structures in the sense that in music the patterning has variance, rather than the exact patterning of applied design. The fugal structures investigated repeats patterns using two dimensions to create contrapuntal & polyphonic synchronizations. Concern with harmony in the form of balance is a key attribute of this practice. 

Patterns, rhythms and metaphoric transformations such as alchemy, taoist thought, music and poetry have had and continue to have significant influences on my thought and practice. 

“Fugue States” new paintings by Virginia Bryant, will open at the Chapel Cultural Center in Troy New York, April 2 and will show through May 27 2019.  The artist will be present for a reception April 26th at 6:30PM.

Her paintings have been featured in exhibitions such as “A Sense of Place” at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, “Florida Contemporary” at the Baker Museum in Naples,“A Painter’s Progress” at Florida Gulf Coast University and most recently “To the North” at Thomas Aquinas College at Sparkill, which was her first solo exhibition in New York State. Her paintings are collected internationally & have garnered awards and press nationally. 

Morgan T Paine of Florida Gulf Coast University says, “Bryant’s work connect with and expands the vocabulary of abstract painting” and John Casey of the Island Sun, also in Florida, dubbed her painting “Abstraction at its best.” 

The Cultural Center is located with the Chapel in a modernist structure which also contains medieval sculpture. There are numerous places to perch while contemplating the twenty six paintings on view.

The Chapel Cultural Center is located at 2125 Burdett Avenue in Troy New York and is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday and 10 AM to 5 PM Saturday.