“Paper, Prayers, and Poetry—A Soulful Exhibition” opens at the Anna Bier Gallery on Saturday and continues through Oct. 30. The title of the exhibit hints at what you will experience when you view Rosie Huart’s expressive work. Rosie speaks of many things through her art, connecting to inner secrets and often evoking in the viewer feelings of joy, peace, and serenity.
Rosie says that pursuing the art of paper making in the mid-1980’s provided the path unleashing her creativity, which in turn inspired the words which become her prayers. She utilizes the poetry of others as well as forming her own poems to add defining meaning to her work, which can be enjoyed on many different levels and often inspires further contemplation. Her hand-crafted scrolls featuring significant quotes share her philosophy, such as these words from Vincent Van Gogh: “I tell you, the more I think, the more I feel there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.”
Confiding that Van Gogh is her favorite artist, Rosie goes on to reveal that she feels an affinity for people who are “misplaced” in the world, a fact made more apparent as she interprets some of her pieces honoring friends whose lives were cut short by death at a young age. Her tribute to “Brandon,” who at age 21 died at the hand of his stepfather, rendered in burnished golds and including gracefully curved lines over outlined geometric forms includes the following words: “I paid homage today in the garden…saw you shimmer… ”
“An Unfinished Life” memorializing another deceased friend includes rose petals from the spray adorning his casket, as well as swirling black ink lines saying “What went wrong… a soul born of grace, spreading wings and eager to fly… ” “The Meeting Room” depicts the place where this young man shared his last words with the artist; Rosie states that the piece is about paying attention to the rooms you enter and the words uttered. Although these works are tinged with sadness, they are full of beauty and grace, offering solace rather than inciting grief.
In many ways, “Sacred Ground” continues this theme, depicting in burnished colors against a blackened background an ancient burial ground Rosie visited when traveling in Greece. The abstract work uses contemporary form to speak meaningfully of antiquity, connecting vastly different worlds through art. As in most of the pieces in this exhibit, natural, earthy shades abound, contributing to the sense of quietness that speaks of connections to a higher realm.
The University of Dayton graduate believes that her background in psychology invites her to look at the common and ordinary in life, but then transcend the human condition with her art. Inspired by Eastern spirituality, Rosie uses her artwork to invoke mystical qualities that speak of connections to a higher realm. In “Credo,” Rosie incorporates words from German theologian Meister Eckhart to help form what might be viewed as a self-portrait illustrating the artist’s goals and beliefs. The text reads “If the only prayer you utter is ‘thank you,’ it will be enough;” abstract forms and figures that might be altars and portals offer myriad meanings that become discernible as one contemplates the complex, but tranquil and fascinating piece.
“Savor the ordinary; see the miracle.” This statement from Rosie’s Website seems to sum up the philosophy which motivates her work while succinctly stating the rewards to be gained from viewing this exhibit. The Anna Bier Gallery, located within Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall, is open Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.; to view the art at other times or to arrange a tour, contact Gallery Director Marcia Weidner 937-417-3497.
Meet the artist this Saturday at an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m.