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Ashley Cecil, Augustina Droze, Deirdre Murphy: EMERGENT PATTERNS

December 20, 2016

BoxHeart Gallery Presents Ashley Cecil, Augustina Droze, and Deirdre Murphy: Emergent Patterns, Opening October 14th at Phipps Conservatory’s Center for Sustainable Landscapes and Opening November 19th at BoxHeart Gallery. In celebration of the gifts of nature, three remarkable women artists explore the patterns of collective behavior through contemporary painting. BoxHeart Gallery presents Ashley Cecil, Augustina Droze, and Deirdre Murphy: Emergent Patterns, the first exhibition that brings together the remarkable contemporary artwork of Pittsburgh-based Ashley Cecil (b. 1981), Buffalo-based Augustina Droze (b. 1982), and Philadelphia-based Deirdre Murphy (b. 1967). Gathering an exquisite collection of paintings, the exhibition celebrates wise conservation, specifically the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, bringing into focus a generative and incisive dialogue regarding the patterns found in collective behavior and the significance of chance observations through innovative forms of expression. Ashley Cecil, Augustina Droze, and Deirdre Murphy: Emergent Patterns joins the nation in celebrating the Migratory Bird Treaty Centennial. Laying the groundwork for collaboration in bird conservation and management across both state and national borders, the Migratory Bird Treaty recognized the ecological and social values of birds. Organized by Nicole Capozzi and Joshua Hogan, Owners of BoxHeart Gallery and Jordyn Melino, Exhibit Coordinator at Phipps Conservatory, the artwork selected for Ashley Cecil, Augustina Droze, and Deirdre Murphy: Emergent Patterns highlights compelling connections among the artist’s work. The most apparent connection is the artist’s representation of emergent structures arising from different levels of organization. In Ashley Cecil’s artwork highly detailed specimens of flora and fauna are placed against graphic patterns reminiscent of Victorian textiles. Cecil’s juxtaposition of natural imagery against an illustrative geometric web transforms a retrieved structure into a new form and unlocks creative realism. Augustina Droze’s optically powerful paintings depict small arrangements of fish, birds, moths, and other insects magnified and organized into mandala-like symmetrical compositions that elaborately explore androcentrism, specifically western culture’s pattern of emphasizing masculine points of view. Especially interested in the patterns, murmurs, and energy concentrated in the collective intelligence of bird flocks, Deirdre Murphy investigates constellations of movement and decodes the patterns she discovers into a visual representation of the energy that creates unpredictable abstract shapes. To coincide with the BoxHeart Gallery exhibition, which runs from November 15th through January 6th, Phipps Conservatory selected specific works for exhibition at the Center for Sustainable Landscapes that enhance and restore bonds between people and the natural world. The exhibition at The Center for Sustainable Landscapes will run from October 14th through January 8th. About Emergent Patterns The human-nature relationship is a vast field of research with cultural, ideological, and philosophical dimensions that strive to explain our place in the world. Currently, both our place within nature and our perception of nature is undergoing a shift into an organicist approach. Unfolding before us are networked environments. Social networks and advances in communication devices have brought us to the verge of significant changes in how we interact with each other and our environment. We are migrating into a fully responsive environment and social organization that embraces the rich productivity of community. The visual arts have always showcased the power of artwork to connect people with nature and add beauty and color to our world. Artists collect data and interpret the information in order to depict their vision of a future world. Any particular political issue does not necessarily motivate them, but rather an artistic exploration into how modernization has shaped how we think about and experience our environment - both personally and commonly. Ashley Cecil spent 2015 partnering with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the National Aviary, and Phipps Conservatory to complete a self-directed residency creating artwork from specimens, exhibits, and florals. Her efforts call attention to how a museum’s collection traces the origins and relationships of varying species. Last summer, Augustina Droze traveled to Colombia to work in collaboration with the Centro Cultural Colombo Americano (CCCA), the U.S. Embassy Bogota, and the community members in Cali, Palmira, and Buga to create artwork showcasing how ecofeminist renewal can lead to social inclusion across class, ethnic, and cultural divides. This April and September Deirdre Murphy completed two residencies at Powdermill Nature Reserve exploring long-term data juxtaposed with migratory birds. Luke DeGroote, Avian Research Coordinator at Powdermill, provided Murphy with data from the bird-banding station that she used to visually represent what subtle patterns changes tell us about our relationship to nature and each other. About the Artists Ashley Cecil graduated from the University of Dayton in 2003 with a BFA in illustration. She began her career as an artist by forging relationships from her hometown of Louisville Kentucky with private collectors including Congressman John Yarmuth, corporate clients such as the Brown-Forman Corporation, and nonprofits including Oxfam America. Cecil earned her MBA at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art London in 2011. While in Europe, she studied with accomplished painters such as James Horton (President of the Royal Society of British Artists) and Thomas Coates (Past President of the New English Art Club). After graduate school, Cecil moved to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania where she is now working on a series of new paintings that blend graphic patterns reminiscent of Victorian textiles with renderings of flora and fauna. This new body of work has resulted in participation in internationally renowned arts festivals, launching a line of home decor and fashion accessories, creating artwork for the label of a libation consumed by millions, having dinner with artist Kehinde Wiley, and talking face-to-face with President Obama. Apropos of Pittsburgh’s industrial heyday, Cecil now paints in an old mine safety appliance factory, and assembles her various textile products by hand at Pittsburgh’s Techshop. She serves on several community art advisory committees in Pittsburgh and on the board of America’s second largest society of illustrators. Born in Detroit Michigan, Augustina Droze is currently based in Buffalo New York. She received a BBA from the University of Cincinnati in 2003 and a MFA from the University of Buffalo in 2015. She works as a public artist and muralist, art instructor, and studio artist. Her paintings have been exhibited by the Castellani Art Museum in Niagara Falls New York, Addington Gallery in Chicago Illinois, and the Birchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo New York. Droze has worked with a variety of public art agencies including The Chicago Public Art Group, the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, The Indianapolis Arts Council, and Cleveland Public Art, as well as large corporations including the Forbes Company. Recently she completed large-scale mixed media murals in Cali, Colombia and Nagpur, India. Currently living and working in Beijing China, Droze's most recent exhibition, Force and Will, highlighted her optically powerful paintings of sumptuous color rendered evocatively with materials ranging from paint and plush to cast polymer. Deirdre Murphy earned a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and a MFA from the University of Pennsylvania. Currently an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania, she has been a visiting artist at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania College of Design, the University of Texas, and Philadelphia University. Murphy has exhibited internationally and extensively in the United States. Her artwork has been exhibited at institutions including the Philadelphia International Airport, Palm Springs Museum of Art, Biggs Museum, New Bedford Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, University of Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. The recipient of numerous awards and grants, most notably the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts Fellowship and a Leeway Foundation award, she has been an artist-in-residence at the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Vermont Studio Center, and Pouch Cove Artist Residency (St. Johns, Newfoundland). Her artwork has been published in New American Paintings and FreshPaint Magazine. Murphy’s artwork can be found in many public and private collections including Colorado Springs Fine Art Center Museum, Temple University, AlphaMed Press, and Gamblin Artists Colors. Murphy is represented by the Gross McCleaf Gallery in Philadelphia PA and Zinc Art + Interiors in Edmonds WA. Cultural Partners Established in 1956 as a field station of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History for long-term studies of natural populations – their life histories, behaviors, and ecological relationships, Powdermill Nature Reserve has been dedicated to its mission of research, education, and conservation for more than 50 years. It is a place for scientists, for students, and for families to study and explore the natural world. The Powdermill Avian Research Center (PARC) is home to the longest continually running bird banding stations in the United States. In addition, PARC studies avian acoustics, stopover ecology, and ability to perceive patterns on glass in an experimental flight tunnel with the goal of reducing bird-window collisions. Founded in 1893, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, set amidst Schenley Park in Oakland, is a green leader among public gardens with a mission to inspire and educate all with the beauty and importance of plants; to advance sustainability and promote human and environmental well-being through action and research; and to celebrate its historic glasshouse. In recent decades, Phipps has evolved into one of the region's most vibrant, thriving cultural attractions, bringing fresh perspectives and artists into the historic glasshouse environment. Phipps has also become a strong advocate for advanced green-building practices, sustainable gardening and a new environmental awareness. Learn more: phipps.conservatory.org. The Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL) Designed to be the greenest building in the world, the CSL generates all of its own energy and treats all storm and sanitary water captured on-site. It is the first and only building to meet four of the highest green certifications: the Living Building Challenge, LEED Platinum, WELL Building Platinum, and Four-Stars Sustainable SITES. As Phipps’ education, research and administration facility, the CSL is an integral part of the Phipps visitor experience, focusing attention on the important intersection between the built and natural environments, and demonstrating that human and environmental health are inextricably connected. Biophilia Network Presentation The Thursday, November 3rd Biophilia: Pittsburgh November Meeting will feature artists Ashley Cecil & Deirdre Murphy. Cecil and Murphy will discuss how the cultural partnerships they developed with Powdermill Nature Reserve and The Carnegie Museum of Natural History led to important artist residencies that guided the process of their artistic creations. Biophilia: Pittsburgh meets monthly at the Center for Sustainable Landscapes classroom (first floor) at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Meetings are free to attend; however, advance registration is required: http://www.meetup.com/biophiliapittsburgh/ Meeting Schedule 5:30 – 6 p.m. Networking and refreshments 6 – 6:30 p.m. Presentation by artists Ashley Cecil and Deirdre Murphy 6: 30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Discussion Reception with the Artists Ashley Cecil, Augustina Droze, and Deirdre Murphy: Emergent Patterns will be on exhibit at BoxHeart Gallery from November 15th through January 6th. The reception with the artists will be held Saturday, November 19th from 5 to 8 p.m. It is free and open to the public. BoxHeart Gallery Visitor Information Admission: Free and open to the public. The 1st floor (main gallery) of BoxHeart Gallery may be accessed using a ramp. The 2nd floor (gallery space) is not accessible by wheelchair. Gallery Hours: Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. BoxHeart Gallery is closed on Mondays. For general information, call 412.687.8858 or visit the gallery online at: www.boxheartgallery.com

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