“Digging In”: Laurie Fader, Mary Proenza, Barbara Weissberger
Exhibition Dates: September 14 – October 27, 2023

Artists’ Talk & Reception, Thursday, September 21, 2023:
Artists’ Talk, 4:30-5:30, Auditorium
Reception, 5:30-7:30pm, Cody Gallery,
MU Ballston Center
Free and open to the public


Stylistically distinct from each other, Laurie Fader, Mary Proenza, and Barbara Weissberger are united by a committed sense of search for the precise visual language, materiality, and imagery to express the intensity of lived experience–a “Digging In.” Fader and Proenza will show paintings; Weissberger will show photographic quilts.

The artists met while Fellows at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in 2022. Realizing how vital conversation and community are to connective studio practice, they have conceived this exhibition as continued conversation, not only among themselves but also with the larger community.

“Digging In”: Laurie Fader, Mary Proenza, Barbara Weissberger

Laurie Fader, Why Shoot the Wolves, 2023, oil on canvas, 36” x 48”

Laurie Fader: “I like the freedom of beginning a painting uncensored, when I can let my instincts fly with movement and gesture. However, the real work doesn’t begin until I dig in, clouded by doubt, and restructure endlessly with the aim of finally realizing a unique, very particular vision in an invented space that engages the viewer. Searching through a pile-up of painterly activity, I edit and unearth. It’s a process of letting the painting discover its own content while I weed out the unnecessary and heighten what’s most relevant. I’m not satisfied until a tactile, visceral, richly pigmented surface results from all the changes. Ultimately, I hope to find formal resolution that may be irrational but encapsulates the anxiety and strangeness of living today.” Fader earned an MFA at the Yale School of Art and a BS at New York University. She has been the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Award, an Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Emergency Assistance Grant, the Helen W. Winternitz Award for excellence in painting from Yale University, Professional Development Grants from the Great Meadows Foundationand numerous residencies. She lived in New York City for 25 years while teaching at Pratt Institute, then in Baltimore while teaching at Maryland Institute College of Art. She was co-founder, Chair, and Associate Professor at the Kentucky School of Art at Spalding University. Currently, she is a full-time practicing artist and is represented by Cavalier Gallery, New York City. More information: @lc fader or lauriefader.com

“Digging In”: Laurie Fader, Mary Proenza, Barbara Weissberger

Mary Proenza, My Mother’s First Post-Polio Broken Leg, 2023, oil on canvas, 30” x 40”

Mary Proenza: “I relate ‘Digging In’ to my painting process, which tends to be tenacious, with many works undergoing major reworkings, often over much time. The phrase is also apt for my excavation-like process with a larger graphic memoir in process—which these paintings appear in—examining family and themes of disability, substance abuse, loss, and creativity. Finally, I love ‘Digging In’ as often applied to a delicious meal, because I feel a similar sensuous joy in manipulating oil colors.” Proenza earned a BA in literature at UC Santa Barbara’s College of Creative Studies, an MFA in painting at New York Studio School, and an MFA in creative writing at The New School. In 2022, she was part of an NEA Arts Project grant, creating four linoleum cut prints in collaboration with writer Jervey Tervalon, published in a letterpress book from Kalamazoo Book Arts Center. Progress on her graphic memoir has been supported by a 2022 Mid Atlantic Arts Fellowship at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts and by a 2020 Mednick Fellowship from the Virginia Foundation of Independent Colleges. An illustrated story from the project was published in Rosebud magazine, and she has published written reviews in Art in America and The Brooklyn Rail. Recent exhibitions include “Cladogram” at Katonah Museum of Art and “One in a Year” at the Painting Center, NYC. Mary Proenza is an Associate Professor of Art at Marymount University. More information: @maryproenza or maryproenza.com

“Digging In”: Laurie Fader, Mary Proenza, Barbara Weissberger

Barbara Weissberger, Do I Have to Spell it Out For You?, 2023, photographic print on fabric (dye-sublimation), other fabrics, thread, 56” x 32”

Barbara Weissberger: “When I’m in the studio, multiple references to other works of art, fiction, poems are hovering around me and find their way into the work, mostly in subtle ways. It makes the solitary work of the studio less solitary – to be in communion with the work of others. For me digging in suggests a deep dive into these layers of association and reference. In a literal sense my photographic quilts are comprised of layers of material, so digging in with touch. Also digging into the layers of meaning(s), as well as the psychological layers.” Weissberger stages photographs and works with textiles to consider bodies, objects, the weird, and the everyday. Her work has been supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship and numerous artist residencies in the US and abroad, including Yaddo, MacDowell, Camargo, and Bogliasco. Her work has been exhibited at such venues as Silver Eye, PS1/MoMA, Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center, The Drawing Center, The Mattress Factory, ADA Gallery, and The Missoula Art Museum. Her work has been written about in journals including Femme Art Review and The Heavy Collective. She received an M.F.A. from San Francisco Art Institute. She was born in New Jersey and lived in San Francisco and New York before moving to Pittsburgh where she is currently based. More information: @barbaraweissberger or barbaraweissberger.net

Cody Gallery is a contemporary art space created as a platform to support the arts and strengthen the arts community at Marymount University and the greater Washington DC area. The gallery is operated by the School of Design + Art at Marymount. Location: 1000 N. Glebe Rd., 2nd Fl., Arlington, VA 22201.

Learn more about Cody Gallery, including exhibition hours: marymount.edu/cody-gallery.

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