Happy Zone Artist Statement
I look at this show as a homecoming. Not only is it a mini retrospective of the work I’ve created over the past 10 years, it’s my way of thanking the community that encouraged me to be an artist
I come from a family of artists. It was something we just did. My mom and gramma always had projects for me to do. I made paintings, created “rock sculptures”, and pushed sequins into styrofoam.
Many people don’t realize that my first “serious” art classes where at the old Art Guild. Lillian Ruben was my ceramic teacher. She was so encouraging. She treated us like artists, even this dorky middle schooler in the adult class. I remember great conversations about what Lillian was making. She made art making seem like it was just what people did..how they lived their lives.
For directions, hours, and more informations on the Art Center, go to the information below.
Fresh from her solo show at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Mary Zeran opens an exhibition at Gilded Pear Gallery entitled “Mission Happiness” Dec. 11. Mary and Gallery Director Lauren Tucci say the show will consist of early and recent work. Unlike the Museum of Art show, it’s also all for sale! Reserve a spot for the opening and virtual reception Dec. 11, make an appointment to visit, or see the work online all at www.gildedpeargallery.com.
MISSION HAPPINESSSolo Exhibition | Mary Zeran
MISSION HAPPINESSTen years ago, I ran...not walked, out of a full-time job to become a professional artist. Impulsive? Yes. But it had to be done. Call it fleeing for my life. Call it a mission of the soul. I just knew, if I didn't run at that time, I'd be stuck for the rest of my life. I think we all have a secret that we try to hide from immediate view. Mine has always been that I'm a nervous, anxious, and fearful person. My decision years ago changed everything.
Since then, I've been on this mission to find happiness. Along the way, I've learned that happiness doesn't exist purely on it's own. It can only be made possible by weeding through frustration, sadness, failure, and the willingness to take risks...make something bad, jump into something new. This has led to finding some bright moments in the calm and in boredom, even. I find I'm my most creative when working within parameters, so a bit of my happiness comes from building my own system of habits and pattern.
Making art is how I stay balanced and quell my nervousness.
Living through a pandemic, I've discovered, is absolutely terrifying. I made the prints in this show during the first "lockdown" earlier this year. It seemed like the only way I could exercise my fear was to work quickly. I'd work on 12 at a time, making efficient use of the textured stamps I carved, and simultaneously thinking about what color to use with each. If something didn't work, I'd cover it up with a layer of paint. And each layer gave me a chance to redo and start fresh. Working at that speed meant there wasn't a lot of time to worry about perfection. This performative exercise to keep my mind focused on artmaking, instead of the uncertainty COVID-19 imposed, became a beautiful distraction and reenergized the way I create.
This exhibition also showcases the artworks on panel and paper that I have in my archives. The early artworks were made in a similar fashion as the prints: testing, editing, and making good and bad decisions. Looking back at how new that method of painting was for me and reflecting on the enjoyment I had in "playing" with something unfamiliar, gives me hope for my path forward. Being able to pair early works that were created at the beginning of my professional journey with the newly introduced prints feels like the perfect way to commemorate my ten-year celebration.
Mary Zeran : 10 Years
In 2020, local artist Mary Zeran will have been working as a professional artist for 10 years. Given the CRMA’s rich history of presenting the art of local artists—especially when they’ve achieved a certain milestone or completed a specific new body of work—the idea of displaying a 10-year retrospective of Zeran’s work during the CRMA’s 125th anniversary year seems fitting. One of the very few local artists to have spent her entire painting career working abstractly, Zeran’s work will challenge viewers to see her subtle but significant evolution over the course of the past 10 years. Constantly exploring, Zeran has crafted different methods of mark-making to accompany her evolution in palette and scale. The exhibition will not only trace the trajectory of her career, it will also include a site-specific installation created especially for this exhibition. — Kate Kunan see here
-Mary Zeran’s career path has been as colorful and abstract as the artwork she has been creating full-time over the past decade.She initially embarked on a prelaw, political science path at the University of Iowa. And then I realized that just wasn’t going to be my thing,” she said. “So I thought, well, I’ll go into journalism, because I like magazines.” So she switched majors. The UI Journalism School required her to have two minors. She chose art and something else she can’t even remember. Doesn’t matter. She took her first art class — and was hooked. “I knew that’s where I should be,” she said.
Afraid to tell her parents that she was switching her major to art, she was surprised when they were delighted. Turns out, she was following in her matriarchs’ footsteps.
-Diana Nollen see more
Mary Zeran: 10 Years, August 29– January 3, 2021
In 2020, local artist Mary Zeran will have been working as a professional artist for 10 years. Given the CRMA’s rich history of presenting the art of local artists—especially when they’ve achieved a certain milestone or completed a specific new body of work—the idea of displaying a 10-year retrospective of Zeran’s work during the CRMA’s 125th anniversary year seems fitting. One of the very few local artists to have spent her entire painting career working abstractly, Zeran’s work challenges viewers to see her subtle but significant evolution over the course of the past 10 years. Constantly exploring, Zeran has crafted different methods of mark-making to accompany her evolution in palette and scale. The exhibition not only traces the trajectory of her career, it also includes a site-specific installation created especially for this exhibition.
Artist Mary Zeran opens an exhibition of her latest work Dec. 6 at Gilded Pear Gallery. Mary tells Dennis about how her paintings are actually similar to sculptures, and gallery director Lauren Tucci talks about the art of displaying exhibits so they look their best on the gallery walls.
Everyone is invited to the exhibit opening, Dec. 6 from 5-7pm. Details at gildedpeargallery.com. see more
Keeping the Bubble Happy
This show investigates the idea that we all possess our inner world in relation to the external- our bubble. The works featured are a response to keeping both of these in equilibrium; the artist illustrates her personal reflection to what that means with color, movement, texture and composition. “I structure my world around a system of patterns and habits to create a psychological ecosystem that allows me to transcend my sadness, fears, insecurities, and doubts”, says Zeran. Painterly organic shapes and patterned blocks are affixed together in chaotic harmony. “I am a participant in the collaboration with the material and my atmosphere is airy within dense and transparent layers, focusing on interactions with the natural world around me.” As she abstracts flowers, trees, and the colors of nature, she uses this language to bring her closer to her family’s craft traditions while exploring her own internal voice. see more
Keeping the Bubble Happy, December 6th, 2019-January 17th, 2020
Opening Reception: December 6th, 2019 5-7pm
Solo exhibit of works by Mary Zeran
Mary Zeran was raised in a family of women artists whose textiles, embroidery, and woodcarvings, existed as their visual language; enigmatic shapes and forms were their words. Each time she picks up a brush or scissors she immerses herself in the language of her family, which brings her ever closer to their traditions, histories, and stories. Mary Zeran received her B.F.A and M.F.A from University of Iowa. She was born in Iowa City in 1964 and now lives and works in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She is the recipient of several awards and honors and her works are in numerous public and private collections as well as many notable corporate collections. Her collage works have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in galleries and museums throughout the United States and abroad. Museum collections include The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, and Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Cedar Rapids IA. She has been reviewed in The Art Examiner, Seattle Post Intelligencer, Artweek, and Kolaj Magazine.
Keeping the Bubble Happy:
There’s a weight in the slog to keeping afloat at times. I structure my world around a system of patterns and habits to create a psychological ecosystem that allows me to transcend my sadness, fears, insecurities, and doubts.
Keeping the bubble happy? What it is for you, is exactly what you need. For me, it’s spending time in nature marveling at the wonder. It’s talking and walking with my husband and dogs. Nothing has the power to shift my mood more than my normal, everyday schedule. It’s the little constants of the day. They are the balm for my soul.
The bubble is where you ARE exactly in the moment- your mental location. These works are my conscious effort to place myself in blissful distraction. Balance. I am a participant in the collaboration with the material and my atmosphere is airy within dense and transparent layers, focusing on interactions with the natural world around me.
Eight pieces were added to Skogman Realty's Corporate Collection. The new building designed by local architect OPN is gorgeous. In addition, to some whimsical conference rooms, the place is filled with local artists. Being invited to the grand opening was a highlight. Good food, fun people, great vibe!!!! To see photos of the new space, go to this link on OPN's website.
Thanks Suzy and Lauren of Gilded Pear Gallery for making this happen. I'm so grateful.
Up All Night: October 5, 2019 – January 5, 2020
Up All Night explores how artists have depicted the night and the dark in their work over the past 500 years. Drawing upon the CRMA’s own collection, a wide variety of artists in all media will be included in this unique slice through the collection. The dark, filled with mystery, has been a long-lived theme in art and manifests itself differently in the hands of different artists. This exploration will not only investigate the different approaches artists have taken but also the preconceived notions and ideas about the night and the dark.
This exhibition and accompanying educational programming has been made possible by the GreatAmerica Financial Services Corporation Donor-Advised Fund of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation.
Additional support has been provided by the Hotel-Motel Tax Fund, the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Program Grant Fund of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, members of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, and contributors to the Museum’s Annual Fund. Annual educational programming support has been provided in part by Transamerica. see more
Four of my works on paper have been acquired by Harvard for one of their Dean’s residences.
May 18 – September 8, 2019Sponsored by Premier BankFounded in 2003, the DUMA Biennial is recognized as a premier juried exhibition opportunity in the heart of the Midwest. The exhibition brings together works by emerging and established artists who are actively producing and presenting new work.
This year’s Biennial offers a fresh survey of 60 new works created by 39 regional contemporary artists. Works in a range of media, including painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture, and fabric, are on view along with multi-media installations.
A very special thank you to the 2019 DUMA Biennial juror Sarah Humphreville, senior curatorial assistant at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Ms. Humphreville has assembled a unified and compelling selection of works that represent current movements in the art of this region but also embody universal and timely themes that reach well beyond our geographic boundaries.
The 2019 DUMA Biennial artists:
Elisa Ahmer, Rockford, Illinois
Nelson Armour, Chicago, Illinois
Judy Bales, Fairfield, Iowa
Victoria Bein, Edgerton, Wisconsin
Pamela Callahan, Highland, Wisconsin
Amy Carani, Monroe, Wisconsin
Patrick Carr, Evanston, Illinois
Rachel Cox, Iowa City, Iowa
Rachel Deutmeyer, Dubuque, Iowa
Wendi Dibbern, Galena, Illinois
Maggie Douglas, West Des Moines, Iowa
Elizabeth Eagle, Dubuque, Iowa
Stephanie Failmezger, Peosta, Iowa
Julia Franklin, Des Moines, Iowa
Celine Hartwig, Iowa City, Iowa
Donté K. Hayes, Iowa City, Iowa
Ali Hval, Iowa City, Iowa
Peggy Johnston, Des Moines, Iowa
Mary Jones, Indianola, Iowa
Ioannis Karalias, Galena, Illinois
Michael Knapstein, Middleton, Wisconsin
Joseph Madrigal, Decorah, Iowa
Rachel Merrill, Des Moines, Iowa
Maureen Healy Mossman, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Tanner Mothershead, Iowa City, Iowa
Paul Nitsche, Ridgeway, Wisconsin
Daniel O’Brien, Platteville, Wisconsin
Lois Peterson, Dakota, Minnesota
Mary Porterfield, Chicago, Illinois
Kristin Quinn, Davenport, Iowa
Elizabeth Rhoads Read, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Vera Scekic, Racine, Wisconsin
Rowen Schussheim-Anderson, Davenport, Iowa
Martin Spei, Oregon, Illinois
John Swartwout, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin
Jessica Teckemeyer, Dubuque, Iowa
Matthew Terry, Davenport, Iowa
Kathy Weaver, Chicago, Illinois
Mary Zeran, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Sarah HumphrevilleSarah Humphreville has been part of the Whitney curatorial department since 2012 and has worked on exhibitions such as Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables, Stuart Davis: In Full Swing, and American Legends: From Calder to O’Keeffe. Humphreville will present a gallery talk on June 8, 2019.
Into the BlueJune 8 - September 15, 2019
A color-specific celebration of Iowa artists! Juried by CRMA Associate Curator Kate Kunau, Into the Blue drew work from artists all over the state of Iowa. Into the Blue celebrates the hue in both two and three-dimensional works across all media and examines how blue has been incredibly important to artists for centuries: From the luxurious (and expensive!) ultramarine used to color the Virgin Mary’s cloak and star-studded vaults of heaven in medieval and Renaissance art to the exuberance of Yves Klein’s trade
"The Way to Happiness", 30"x30"x2", acrylic, Dura-Lar on cradled panel, 2019 copyright Mary Zeran is included in Cedar Rapids Museum of Art's 2019 summer show. Curator: Kate Kunau, Associate Curator of Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Cedar Rapids, IA. see more
Thrilled to announce these three pieces have been added to the corporate collection of Reliant Medical Group in Westborough, MA
Grateful and excited that Cedar Rapids Museum of Art has added my painting to their permanent collection.
Three of my pieces have been added to the corporate collection of People's United, Boston, MA.
Loud + Proud
November 30th- January 18th, 2019)
Artist Reception: November 30th, 5-7pm
Gilded Pear Gallery
Address: 808 THIRD AVE. SE CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA 52403
Loud and Proud
I'm someone who moved 8 times before my eighth birthday and another 8 before age 41. I've lived in Iowa, Alexandria; Virginia, Minnesota, Iowa again, Georgia, Iowa again, Sweden, Iowa again, Sweden, Iowa again, Wisconsin, Oregon, Washington State, and Iowa again. In 1971, I lived in a Cuban neighborhood where Spanish was the first language. In 1982, I studied Swedish with immigrants from Eritrea, Kurdistan, Greece, Britain, the US, Turkey, and Iran. I was baptized Catholic, confirmed Congregational...Went to a southern public school where I was the only white kid in my class. I've worked in a hospital kitchen, made machines to put feathers into pillow cases, guarded art, been an office assistant more than once, sold fabric to interior designers, taught college, elementary, and adult students, worked as a department store display person, and am an artist...
Through all of this, I came in contact with people who were very different from me. What I learned is there are a lot of wondrous ways to be human. Each and every one of us is a unique mix of experiences...someone special and rare. If we’re hiding who we are to make others happy, or judging others because we don't understand them, then we’re missing the point.
We need to honor ourselves, let our freak flags fly, go for the gusto, not be stopped by what we are or aren't, and encourage the same in others.
My work is included in an exhibit at Cedar Rapids Museum of Art titled "Beyond the Prairie: Midwestern Art from the Collection."