Garvey | Simon presents Mary Reilly: Nature of Vermont

by | Apr 19, 2021 | Blog post

Garvey|Simon is pleased to present Mary Reilly: Nature of Vermont, DFN Projects, 16 East 79th Street, Suite G-2, New York, NY 10075. Mary Reilly’s photorealistic drawings of sylvan landscapes and still lifes of wild flora are celebrations of her local Vermont terrain. Attracted to isolated, almost liminal spaces, Reilly’s conscientious details are bolstered by a hint of fantasy. Ranging from sweeping, monumental scenes to intimate studies, the artist’s graphite drawings are a feat of technical prowess. The exhibition is through April 30, 2021. It can also be viewed online at Artsy.

Mary Reilly’s laborious method of toning her paper serves as the starting point for her intricate compositions. She begins by covering the entire sheet with up to eight smooth, unmodulated coats of graphite. From here, Reilly deepens her darker tones and elevates her highlights. At once additive and subtractive, this process allows Reilly to create subtle shifts in shade and incremental gradients that result in myriad tonal effects and explore the full diversity achievable in a gray-scale palette.  This technique also lends itself to Reilly’s play with depth and scale. Whether raked views of monumental trees, or tight, jostling arrangements of seashells and leaves, the ease of her transitions belies the intricacy of her compositions.

Reilly’s move from New York City to Northern Vermont has signaled a shift in the scale and scope of her drawings. Unbridled scenes bask in soft expanses of negative space, dramatic atmospheric effects, and prodigious plant life. There is a certain spontaneity and tranquility in her drawings that suggest an environment untouched, sequestered from interference and almost atemporal in their serenity. She reflects, 

“Since my move to northern Vermont, I have become immersed in nature and the magnitude of its ever changing seasons. Images that I once traveled to find in New York City I now stumble upon in my everyday life.” 

Reilly treats her subjects with reverence, acquiescing to their wildness and allowing them to command and overwhelm her pictorial plane. At once ancient and immediate, Reilly’s sylvan scenes are striking in their solitude.

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