Featured Artist in MARCH
Exhibit opens Friday, March 6th First Friday Art Walk, 5 to 9 p.m.
6 pm on Friday, March 6th
Learn more about Nan's mosaic process and design inspirations
ARTISTS MOSAIC DEMONSTRATION
March 28th, 12 NOON, Butterfield Garage Gallery
Exhibition runs through March 31st, 2020
On site with the photographer, Dan Voellinger.
The Joy of Play
Tree of Live
Nan Szypulski-Lewis working in her studio
Nan Szypulski-Lewis - SZY MOSAICS - is Buterfield Garage Gallery's Featured Artist during March. Her delightful images are guided by old rules of the classical method of mosaics, yet have a fresh modern appeal. Her techniques are rooted in the classics yet have an unexpected whimsy and are a delight to see. They literally sparkle as you study them.
Nan came to the visual art world by taking a pottery class at Ohio University, a desire she had throughout her undergraduate work but could not fit into her schedule. She worked in clay for about 16 years. Serendipitously, she came to mosaics through a summer project exploring 6 different art forms with two friends, the second on the list being mosaics, and became so enthralled that they continued to pursue mosaics with great enthusiasm, honing their skills through books and practice.
In those early years they learned of Luciana Notturni, a famous mosaic artist and restorer of ancient mosaics throughout Italy, saved their profits from their mosaics and went to Italy to take a workshop with Luciana. Working alongside Luciana and her very well established mosaic artists, historians and interns, Nan learned the ancient classical method which changed the way she made mosaics forever. She learned mosaics as an art form and not merely as a craft, how each tiny tesserae laid was carefully purposed to receive the next piece so it had to be perfectly cut and laid. Backgrounds were as equally important as any detailed image in the mosaic.
Nan continues to be mesmerized by the entire mosaic process: finding inspiration in visuals and visions, drawing out those inspirations, selecting colors and textures to work with,
delighting in the sounds made by tools and sorting through many pieces that have been cut to find that perfect "one" to be laid next. Nan explains that "there is, for me, an addictive element in laying the tesserae and very often a place reached that is a deeply spiritual place for me". Working through the many challenges of creating mosaics allow for fascinating growth. Every part of the mosaic process continues to delight me - mind, body and soul. Making something of beauty out of nondescript tiny pieces of broken glass ...from brokenness to complete wholeness ... is a very delightful experience".
Mosaics first appeared in Mesopotamia around 1500 BC, as pebbles in roads, and then as wall art the Greeks began using small pebble, bits of colored stones, glass and natural materials this time to create intricate wall art and designs. By 4 AD up until the Renaissance mosaics appeared in basilicas across Italy. From the famous Antoni Gaudi to our current day, modern artists have helped keep the ancient art form alive and paved the way for contemporary mosaics today where artists use stone, shells, ceramics, art glass, beads, ... even beans, doll parts and hardware items among many other things.Nan has been featured in the Gainesville Sun, and has been a regular at the Gainesville Sidewalk Art Fair as well as the Tioga Arts Fair. She has been a member of Butterfield Garage Art Gallery since 2015