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September 2 October 15, 2005
Renowned California artist Inez Storer's narrative drawings, paintings and prints are layered with colors and seemingly simplistic painted images and text. This exhibition featured at the MAM's Temporary Contemporary includes over 20 prints and paintings, and gives a wide view of the work of this remarkable artist. Storer's exhibition presented at MAM is indicative of a much larger oeuvre of work including small intimate prints to large paintings. Fascinating collage elements include bits of antique letters, books and other documents, European engravings, postcards and photos. The resulting images, at once whimsical and profound, are based in the day-to-day experience of relationships and domesticity and the worlds of dream, theater and past.
Storer's compositions draw on traditional iconography, fantasy, and personal narrative. And while many of her works suggests a narrative, they also reveal the artist's fastidious attention to the formal and expressive aspects of composition. The lush and beautiful surfaces seduce the viewer. But as one takes a closer look, the works speak to us on many different levels, all at the same time. The works reveal a steady engaged emotion; the messages are reflective of the challenging social ideas of our day and the formal qualities of her work reveal an artist in full stride of her career. (right: Inez Storer, Yellow Cup, pigment digital / collage, 13.5 x 17 inches)
In the theater, we glimpse reality in the presentation of one metaphor after another. And as we view Storer's works collectively the same phenomena is true. The more we see, the more the messages are clarified. This collective body of works in this exhibition feed off of one another for the greater impact, and we are informed of the evolving, revised, and truthful history that is the foundation of the artist's expression.
In this day and age, the descriptive word surrealism is used indiscriminately. But the influence of the surrealists in Storer's approach seems undeniable. The use and incorporation of the theater and the stage by early surrealists is also a frequent compositional element used by Storer. Her works are not dictated purely by reason, nor are they preoccupied with moral messages. There is natural ease in her work and one never has the sense that Storer over-works or over-thinks. This natural approach was one of the goals of the early surrealists.
Storer was born in 1933 in Santa Monica, California. She studied at the Art Center in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Art Institute, the University of California at Berkeley, and the San Francisco College for Women and received her B.A. from Dominican College in San Rafael, California in 1970. She received her M.A. from San Francisco State University in 1971. Storer's work has been featured in solo exhibitions throughout the United States. She has received numerous awards and grants including the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant and has twice been a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome. MAM is indeed honored to present the work of this important American artist.
Storer will sign a print created by Griff Williams at Urban Digital Press. She has graciously donated 100% of the sale of this print to benefit the renovated and expanded art museum that will reopen in June 2006. Storer will be in residence in Missoula in partnership with The University of Montana Art Department and the Jim and Jane Dew Visiting Artists Fund during the first week in October.
The painting philosophy of automatism emulated by early surrealists is arguable an influence in Storer's work. Autonomists intended to express the true function of thought instead of thought.
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