Image: Ryan McCoy (left), Emily Fussner (right)

Emily Fussner
Ryan McCoy

Cody Gallery, Marymount University
Curated by Sarah Hardesty

November 4, 2022 – January 4, 2023
Reception: Friday, November 4, 5-7pm


“Mending time” brings together Emily Fussner’s cast paper installations with Ryan McCoy’s large mixed media paintings. Each artist’s ability to weave together the fragility of time with the grit of the earth opens a powerful space for transformation and rethinking. Texture, shadow, materiality, and process are delicately and thoughtfully integrated into their work and provide a solid ground to delve deeper. Their work beckons hope and transfiguration.

In Fussner’s installation she elevates and bends cast paper forms made within cracks in asphalt. The residual power of her mending the hard pavement, pressing wet pulp into the openings in the broken surface is fused with airy weightlessness and ephemeral shadows as she breathes new life into the work within the gallery space. The pulp is formed over a metal armature, and this foundation allows the latticed openings to bend into new formations. Whatever else resided on the ground has become part of the new conglomerate. Her works on handmade paper capture the shadows of the folded castings and bring to life an alternate view delving into absence and presence. Both her 2d and 3d work suggest a relationship to the body, its vulnerability and resilience. Fussner writes: “Filling mundane asphalt cracks with paper pulp is a gesture of mending–a reference to Kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken ceramics with gold. My experience living with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a brittle bone condition, has given me an intimate relationship to fracture and healing. While the pulp dries, the work becomes part of the environment and highlights the intricate patterns of the cracks we often overlook.”

McCoy digs deep into personal memory and blends it with place and time in his mixed media paintings. Each element in the paintings is chosen for how it poignantly echoes a potent time in the past for McCoy, whether saturated with trauma or delight. The combination of self-sourced materials (pine needles, baby powder, ash, rust) forms a new textured crust over the structured painted blueprint. His paintings grip the viewer and radiate into the space. His surfaces and unexpected comingling of materials reveal the fortitude of the soul and have a deep transformative impact. McCoy says of his paintings: “…the paintings are physical representations of how I felt and thought at a point in time. In them I can structure my experiences and observations. Some are existential responses to things happening in my life and others are responses to things happening in the world.” And about his process he states: “When I gather pine needles and ash, I typically spend two days in a pine forest at 4000 ft. gathering materials and making ash.” “These days of gathering are solitary and resetting in a way and, over the years, have coalesced into a large web of new experiences that have deepened my association with the materials.”

Emily Fussner is a multidisciplinary artist whose work highlights and transforms peripheral patterns of light and cracks in everyday spaces, exploring questions of transience and presence, fragility and strength, perception and care. She has had solo exhibitions at Arlington Arts Center (2021) and IA&A at Hillyer (2019), and has been commissioned to create site-specific installations for Georgetown Glow (2021) and The Foggy Bottom Outdoor Sculpture Biennial (2018). Fussner received an MFA in Visual Arts from George Mason University, during which she was awarded 2018-2019 Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Graduate Fellowship and a summer residency at GlogauAIR through American University’s MFA Studio Berlin in 2018. She is currently a resident artist at the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington, and is the Events Manager & Resident Designer for Washington Project for the Arts.

Ryan McCoy is an artist based in Washington DC. His primary body of work, developed over the last 16 years, includes paintings that combine specific materials such as seawater, ash, rust, and baby powder to create iconographies about time, place, and memory. McCoy’s work has been exhibited at national and international venues including Longview Gallery (Washington, DC), Connersmith. (Washington, DC); Latrobe Contemporary (Melbourne, Australia) and Grizzly Grizzly (Philadelphia, PA). McCoy is a 2020 grant recipient from the The Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Americans for the Arts, and Washington Project for the Arts, and was a Trawick Prize Semi-Finalist in 2008 and 2018. McCoy’s paintings are included in numerous private collections throughout the U.S., Europe, South America, and Australia. He is currently an Artist in Residence at the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington and teaches at George Mason University’s School of Visual Art.

Sarah Hardesty is an associate professor of art at Marymount University and is an artist in residence at the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington.
Academics - Marymount University