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Warrick spices up Meyer Gallery’s theme

Dan Bischoff, OF the Record staff

Cheryl Warrick’s art goes beyond her vibrant colors and contemporary mixed-media style. It’s not just about painting a beautiful piece.

"Overall it’s the search for wisdom," she said.

Hidden in her pieces are messages and symbolic images meant to cause the viewer to reflect. Her work was just placed in the Meyer Gallery. Warrick will have an artist reception Dec. 29 during the Park City Gallery Stroll.

"I’m really interested in archetypes and symbols and how we gather things in bits and pieces," Warrick said.

Warrick is a Massachusetts-based painter best known for her richly colored and quilt-like paintings that explore what she calls "the journey of wisdom," according to Meyer Gallery director Maren Bargreen.

"There is a patchwork quality, drawn to the idea that one piece influences the other," Warrick said. "In my paintings, I’m interested in symbols and things that open a door for conversation. I’m putting things in relationships to each other. I think of the landscape as an archetype. They way that I paint the landscape, I go internal and these are all the places we go."

Warrick incorporates folk wisdom, proverbs, symbols and landscapes in layers of paint, papers, and other media. Her pieces exhibit a feeling of nostalgia that invite the viewer to create an individual interpretation.

"I usually collect proverbs from different cultures," Warrick said. "Things your grandmother would say to you. There’s a timelessness to these messages. There’s always a voice tied into them.

"I’m not telling the story but providing the viewer a chance to tell his or her own story," she continued. "Inevitably someone has something to see and it provokes them."

Those messages aren’t always easy to find, however.

"You have to kind of work for the messages and that’s true with wisdom," Warrick said. "With my work, it’s seeing something today that you didn’t see yesterday."

Becoming an artist wasn’t easy, Warrick admits.

She worked as a nurse and went to art school simultaneously. Warrick said an illness prevented her from being a nurse and she went fulltime into developing art. What she enjoyed as a nurse, she similarly experiences when creating an artistic piece.

"When I was a nurse, I was thinking about healing. My work as an artist is along the same path," Warrick said. "I always think of it that way that it has something positive for people to look at it.

"I enjoy hearing someone say ‘I’ve had it for five to 10 years and I still enjoy it.’ Or ‘my painting brought tears to my eyes,’" Warrick continued. "Art really connects people and opens the door to conversation and opens the door to healing."

Warrick’s work has been shown in the Boston Public Library, Museum Of Fine Arts, Boston, Harpo Productions (Oprah Winfrey’s company), Chicago, Illinois, and Fidelity Investments in Boston, the fine art museum at Cornell Univesity and the Rhode Island School of Design Art Museum.

"Cheryl’s artwork is a contemporary American art treasure," said Susan Meyer, owner of Meyer Gallery. "What makes her work special is the contrast between old and new, future and past. The paintings are developed in a quilt-like fashion. Bits of wall paper, old letters, familiar proverbs are pieced together in a fashion that feels intimate like pages of a scrapbook while at the same time providing snippets of the present and future."

A few of the messages in her paintings include: "Fine Feathers Don’t Make Fine Birds," "Prepare today for tomorrow," "Wonder is the beginning of wisdom," "Be what you seem. Seem what you are," "The more you get, the more you want" and "Slow and steady wins the race."

Her messages and parables are "simple wisdoms that keep us firmly grounded in who we are, whatever our cultural backgrounds," Meyer said. "I selected Cheryl (Warrick) for our gallery because my focus for the gallery now is to provide museum quality works that have a western sensibility. While Cheryl is from the East, the quilt-like paintings with wide open landscapes are at home in the West."

In more than 40 years of operation, the Meyer Gallery has seen many different styles of art. Warrick’s style is typical of what Meyer’s future theme may be.

"We’ve definitely been moving in a more contemporary direction," Bargreen said. "We’ve been noticing a newer and younger group and (Warrick’s) work definitely speaks with them."

Meyer enjoys bringing in fresh works and talent.

"The Meyer Gallery has always been a springboard for young talent and will continue to be so. But as I get older, my tastes have hopefully become more refined and I prefer to have very special pieces around me. I enjoy traveling around the country looking for art," Meyer said.

She hopes to bring lasting art to her customers in Park City.

"When a customer does me the honor of spending their money with me, the least I can do is find them artwork that has genuine lasting value," Meyer said.

Meyer said it’s easy to spend $5,000 in a gallery on a piece of mediocre art from talented salespersons

"My job is to find art that is as high a quality as you would find in New York or Chicago but is comfortable in a western mountain gallery," Meyer said.

For this coming winter, the Meyer Gallery will also exhibit "the whimsical show of Sheila Norgate’s paintings, which sold out last winter as well as the American artist Dave McGary, whose native American sculptures are included in countless museums, including the Smithsonian," Meyer said.

"I feel incredibly fortunate to do the work that I do. When a customer responds to a quality piece of artwork in the way that I hoped, I feel that I have done my job," Meyer said.

The Meyer Gallery will hold an artist reception for Cheryl Warrick during the Park City Gallery Stroll on Dec. 29. For more information on the works shown at the Meyer Gallery, call 649-8160.


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