The M.S. Rezny Studio & Gallery has been overtaken by color. Spiky, primary-colored bacterial and human cells climb the white walls; whimsical, mixed media sculptures with animalistic faces — narwhals, bears, unidentified mammals — and pastel bodies stand in the center of the room; luscious paintings with bright strokes that form bodies, written words and abstract patterns anchor the exhibit. These seemingly disparate objects, created by four different artists, are all part of a tightly woven exhibition at the gallery called Renegade Chroma.
“By definition ‘Renegade Chroma,’ a noun, is the juxtaposition between vibrant, dynamic color and darker, macabre, or creepy content and imagery,” says Mary Rezny, the founder and owner of the gallery.
Yet in this exhibit, it is defined as what happens when artists Lennon Michalski, Staci McKnight Maney, Crimson Duvall and Laurie Appleby-Williams come together in a riotous array of color and metaphors.
Rezny says that when putting together exhibits at her gallery, she likes to give her artists some freedom.
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“That way, shows come together organically, like this one did” she explains, which is evident in how the elements of Renegade Chroma come together like a whole, working organism. Entering the gallery is like entering a different world.
All four artists involved in the show are juried Kentucky artists. The first, Laurie Appleby-Williams, is responsible for the cell sculptures scaling the gallery walls. According to Appleby-Williams, she does not have a science background.
“In fact, science classes were some of my worst classes in high school,” she says. “Still, the forms of cells, viruses, and bacteria have always appealed to me aesthetically. I am also fascinated by the monumental tasks that these microscopic power houses perform on a daily basis. Our bodies are made up of a trillion cells working together. Cells make us who we are, heal us, and create new life.”
Crimson Duvall, a sculptor, creates the creepy-cute sculptures that fleck the space. She says that she has always been fascinated by mythology and fables, which serve as inspiration for her own work.
“Storytellers use their personal experiences and the world around them to ignite sparks in their imaginations; when painting or sculpting my ceramic, coil-built creatures and placing them in environments of mixed media, I am creating stories within my head,” Duvall explains. “These stories can be entered in the beginning, middle or end.”
Lennon Michalski, an instructor of digital media at the University of Kentucky, creates rich conceptual pieces that have echoes of the human form woven throughout.
Michalski states: “My work reflects society’s attempts to evolve through science and innovation, showing the challenges we face when a person experiences disability. My imagery conveys a world where the line between organic and machine has become blurred, giving birth to factual situations integrating technology and the human form where the characteristics of the two are indistinguishable.”
Finally, Staci McKnight Maney, says that you can frequently find her crouched on the side of the road with camera in hand or collecting the detritus of day-to-day life to use in her art. A found-object artist, McKnight Maney creates some of her work using pages of old books.
She writes in her artist statement that each image is selected based on the background pages and applied as a high contrast black and white image. The juxtaposition between the stark imagery and intensely colorful background is significant to her work. Found objects and fiber are applied and sewn to complete each piece.
“I’m really excited for people to see this show during Gallery Hop,” Rezny says.
If you go
What: Exhibit of works by Lennon Michalski, Staci McKnight Maney, Crimson Duvall, and Laurie Appleby-Williams.
Where: 5-8 p.m. March 18 for Gallery Hop and artists reception. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tues.-Fri., 1-4 p.m. Sat. through March 26.
Where: M.S. Rezny Studio & Gallery, 903 Manchester St.
Renegade Chroma is part of Gallery Hop, which features more than 50 galleries open to visitors from 5 to 8 p.m. March 18. For more information, including venues, visit Galleryhoplex.com or call 859-255-2951.