In a well-lit room, nine pieces of torn paper paintings are displayed around many eating and chatting onlookers.
Stevenson University’s art gallery at Greenspring held a public reception for Gina Falcone Skelton’s new exhibit, Spirit Bridge Torn, on March 29, 2017.
Skelton is a Baltimore-based painter who normally specializes in large oil paintings, according to Matt Laumann, director of cultural programs and exhibitions at Stevenson. However, for this series, Skelton took a step back from large paintings and began making collages of hundreds of small pieces of paper.
Skelton said that in early 2014 she found herself unable to paint for the first time that she could remember. The next thing she knew, she had several of these 7”x7” collages that came together and told larger stories.
The Greenspring gallery exhibits the first set of three of the series, according to Skelton. She said the intent was initially to construct a narrative about where she had been, but it turned into a story about where she hasn’t been.
In the gallery, the inspiration for different pieces are framed alongside the artwork. Laumann explained that this display makes the artwork’s history become a part of the piece.
One piece is a series of collages with alternating rows of paper placed into crosses and images of religious statues. An old photograph of a boy and a girl on bikes sits next to this piece. Skelton said the title was ‘Riding Bikes in Vienna’ and the photo was of her brother and herself when they were young.
Similar works of art cover the walls of the gallery. The tallest piece displays a gradual change in colors and was inspired by a color wheel Skelton’s granddaughter painted. Another piece includes an old ring that was taken from a carousel Skelton enjoyed as a child.
Skelton said that her friend and poet, Mary Azrael, visited her and saw that there was something more to these individual pieces of paper. Azrael wrote Skelton a poem and gave her the name of Spirit Bridge Torn.
This year marked the 20th anniversary of the Greenspring campus gallery, Laumann believes that Skelton’s exhibit is a great addition. The university has hosted nearly 200 exhibits in the past two decades within its four galleries.