Pablo Picasso had his blue period. Mary Rezny has her green era.
"When I started working on the painting on the photograms and the imagery from the garden ... I realized that it had just become a study of green, and the different greens of the different seasons," Rezny says, showing the work in her new exhibit, A Green Garden, which opens Friday as part of Gallery Hop. "I had been working with green so much this year that when my husband and I went on vacation and went to the beach, I photographed green," she says, sheepishly, holding up White Bird, a woven accordion artist book of mostly green grass and the title fowl, shot in South Carolina's Low Country.
The images are part of a three-artist exhibit, including Waiting Arbor, a garden bench structure by Garry Murphy of Prajna Design, and garden sculptures including a birdbath by Cynthia Carr of Crosswinds Pottery.
A Green Garden finds Rezny enjoying a new season of her life and career that has allowed her to focus on her work and her Distillery District gallery, M.S. Rezny Studio and Gallery.
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In 2007, Rezny and her husband and business partner, Vern Ramnes, closed The Film Lab, the West Second Street shop that was Lexington's last custom film lab. They had run the lab for 25 years, but demand for their services declined with the rise of digital photography.
"The cost of business had gone up too much, and one day we looked at each other and said, 'Do you want to do this anymore?'" Rezny says. "He said no, and I said no, and so we said, 'What do you want to do?' and I said, 'I want to do more of my artwork for a change,' and he said, 'I want to play more golf.' So that was the end of that."
Behind the wall that sports a number of Rezny's prints is a wet darkroom, giving her the ability to produce most of her work on site at the studio on Manchester Street.
In addition to making her own artwork and running the gallery, Rezny shoots photos of pieces by area artists, giving her a built-in relationship with people she can invite to exhibit at her gallery.
"It's kind of boring looking at your own work all the time, so I thought it would be nice to get some more interesting artists, innovative artists, experimental artists and really push the gallery as well," Rezny says. "I have always enjoyed being around art, being surrounded by art, so promoting art is good advocacy."
And, of course, her art is the consistent feature in the gallery.
For the past few years, Rezny has worked on photograms, essentially camera-less photography in which objects are placed directly on light-sensitive paper outdoors. The pieces in this show have been torn up and reassembled in some cases, and in others, mounted on boards and texturized to replicate the natural feel.
"I really enjoy taking a photograph and then pushing it off the page, doing something non-traditional with the photograph," Rezny says.
In addition to selling prints, she now sells limited-edition custom art books of her images.
"At one time, the books were about the artwork, but now the books have become pieces of art themselves," she says, showing a star-shaped compendium of images of fish models.
"I'm usually always interested in working on the next project. I always have new projects in mind," Rezny says.
And that might be good, because it appears that the green era might be winding down. While looking at the most recent image in the garden series, Rezny says, "Green's kind of minimized here. But still, there's enough for the exhibit."