Mesaros Galleries present contemporary perspectives on social media photography and American family and immigration relations

Right inside West Virginia University College of Creative Arts’ Creative Art Center in the Mesaros Galleries are two esteemed, national artists’ exhibitions for your free perusal. The beautiful, large gallery spaces hold temporary exhibitions throughout the year, and are a great source for gaining perspective right in Morgantown.

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Penelope Umbrico Screenshot from Everyone’s Moon 2015-11-04 14:22:59Digital video with sound 16-minute loop 2015 Courtesty Mesaros Galleries

Inside the Paul Mesaros Gallery, Penelope Umbrico utilizes the entire space with Everyone’s Photos Any License.  Onto the entire back wall is projected Everyone’s Moon 2015-11-04 14:22:59, part of Everyone’s Moons on Flickr, November 2015, examining the enormity of social photography by obtaining permission from hundreds of Flickr photographers who captured the full moon, a more rare photo subject as it requires a special equipment. The 16 minute loop digital video with sound is mesmerizing, calming, and gives a pleasant glowing reflection on the floor of the dark gallery.  



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Screenshot 2015-11-04 14.22.59 is hung from the wall, then falls along the floor, an archival pigment print of the shots at 11” width by 436” long, demonstrating the vastness of the project. Though it appears a simple project, glancing through her pages of photographer credits in a notebook exemplifies the authentic complexity and large scales that comes to the intimate experience of the resulting art.

The artist, whose work is in several museum collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Guggenheim Museum, was present for an art talk Oct. 27.  The exhibit runs through Nov. 11.

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Darice Polo Liberty Island 1958 Graphite 2009 Courtesy Mesaros Galleries

Next door inside the Laura Mesaros Gallery, artist Darice Polo’s solo exhibit, Migration, examines her own Puerto Rican ancestry via warm yet intense graphite drawings and paintings of 8mm stills and vintage photographs from the 1940s and 1950s. The show also presents a short clip from her current project, A Wise Latina Woman, where “Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor serves as the catalyst for a critical discussion about the ramifications of U.S. involvement in Latin America and the Caribbean.” Continues her statement: “All of my work reflects my cultural heritage through the filter of American society.”

The drawings and paintings are personal moments and seem to depict loving and contented people, notably women, from relatable perspectives, as though the viewer is there with them. Sunday Sequence 1953 (1-6) an ongoing set of small oil paintings on canvas show a grinning woman with various children and other men and women in motion. One of them shows the woman pointing to the viewer or photographer in the case, smiling brightly with a witty twinkle in her eye, as men create arcs of movement and a child’s hand sweeps through the corner. The warm colors and movement present an exquisite composition of familiar, loving family chaos.

Polo presented an artist talk on October 13, and her show will also be up through November 11. The artist has shown extensively throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

Both shows exude stellar presence and perspective that can incite local reflections as well on family, immigration, social media and more. Check it out inside the Creative Arts Center at One Fine Arts Drive in Morgantown.

The next shows in the space will be Lily Cox-Richard and Amy Schissel, both running Feb. 20-March 3, 2017, with art talks scheduled. Details at artanddesign.wvu.edu/mesaros-galleries.



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