Silk Stitching and an Old Egyptian Craft on View at MAG

Mamaroneck's Julia Sperry and Larchmont's Annette Lieblein showcase artwork for the month of June.

Julia Sperry creates art with silk, paper and printing techniques. Annette Lieblein creates art with hardened beeswax and colored pigments.

But however disparate the two approaches may seem, the artists are currently sharing an exhibit—and a few common themes—at the Mamaroneck Artists' Guild.  

The exhibit, titled "The Transformed Image," opened yesterday and will run until June 19.

"We're in the process of fine tuning the exhibit," said Suzanne Montressor, the gallery's director. "And we've already had a good turnout."

Julia Sperry, a longtime Mamaroneck resident, creates her pieces through layering mixed media. She prints images onto silk, placing one silk layer on top of the other—and at the end of each project, she stitches the layers together.

"Often, I incorporate the stitches into the artwork," Sperry said. "They become part of the piece."

Sperry's currently displayed work focuses on architecture—or more specifically, deteriorating architecture. The walls at MAG are festooned with silk prints of dilapidated Victorian houses.

"I got the idea in Center Harbor, New Hampshire, where I spotted these old Victorian houses deteriorating next to a shopping center," Sperry explained. "So in these works, there's a common theme of construction and deconstruction and deterioration."

"And I've always been interested in real estate and housing," she added.

Sperry's work is surprisingly positive given its subject—"Child's Play" is a bright and colorful rendition of decay, with overlaps of yellow and orange silk.    

"There's a beauty in the rot," she explained.

Mixed in alongside Sperry's crumbling Victorian residences is the artwork of Lieblein, who lives in Larchmont. And though Lieblein works in encaustics—the ancient Egyptian process of using heated beeswax as a canvas—she views the shared exhibition as organic.

"We both interpret layers," Lieblein said.

Sperry agrees. "We both take an image and do something different with it, add a symbolism," she said.

"The Transformed Image" is Lieblein's first time working with encaustics. And though she is concerned primarily with textures, at first glance her art may portray her as more of a mathematician. Each wax canvas is layered with numbers, equations and geometric shapes.

But Lieblen maintains that the shapes' and numbers' meaning are only visual.

"I love the way the numerals look," she explained. "And shapes, particularly circles; they represent hope and unity."

Lieblein uses circles to make a political statement in her piece "Voices," where two circles—one red and one white—merge in the center of the canvas.

"The white represents the United States and the red Afghanistan," Lieblein said. "I've painted two culture, two people, intersecting. It can be peaceful."

Each of Lielblein's works seems antiquated—beneath the top layer are several others, each less visible than the last. This component, Lieblein said, is influenced by her time spent living in Rome.

"I'd see ancient aqueducts and battered walls," she said. "Things I've brought to my own work."     

An opening reception for "The Transformed Image" will be held Friday, June 4 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. On the exhibit's last day, June 19, the artists will host a closing reception from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.


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