Sunday, January 9, 2011


The annual Art-Ability show is in it's last week at the Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital in Malvern, PA. All participants in this show suffer with either cognitive, physical, hearing or visual disabilities. The collection of artists this year spans the globe and includes artists close to home and world-wide, featuring 182 artists and 7 countries.

I want to take this opportunity to feature some of my favorite pieces from the judged collection this year. First let me say - there were no fiber entrees - hmmmm? This was as close as the collection got to fiber - and a beauty it is - The Fourth of July by Beth Livingston (I'm not linking you to Beth's website as Norton Security does not like her site) of Montana. Beth is paralyzed from the waist down, and in addition to being an accomplished artist, she is also an Olympic athlete.
The red stripes are all wooden spools of red thread.

My obsession lately has been everything and anything "outsider" folk art - this topic will take an entire post to address. This amazing piece by Allison Merriweather from Texas called Harmony Prevails is an excellent example of this form of folk art. I love her color palette, especially accented by the blue frame.

Birches, by Jen Dacota of Florida is captivating - Jen works with tar, wax and oils to create her pieces. She suffered a stroke which affected her vision, concentration and comprehension - art is her therapy.

I love this piece, Internal Conflict, by Stephen Gibson (no website) of California. Stephen has multiple disabilities. His work is created by setting self-imposed sets of rules for the materials he uses, how those materials are applied and the rhythm and pattern for each color. For me it is the subject and grid pattern that I find so interesting in this piece.

For me, Please Don't Get Up by Carol Spilker (no website) of Delaware is all about color and calm. She is paralyzed from the waist down. I find the imagery in this work calming despite the vibrant and lively colors palette.

And finally, this piece, The Lough, by local artist Mark McLaughlin (no website). This is a pen and ink drawing - painstakingly detail oriented - a true feat when you consider Mark cannot walk or stand for longer than one hour.

I was also blown away by the work of Siddhartha and Sriharsha Sulka of India. Their works, and there are quite a few example of them in the show, are done in paper collage - exceptional paper collage. Sorry, I don't have any photos of them.

The show is only open for one more week, closing January 16th - if you're in the Philadelphia area it is definitely worth the drive to visit the exhibit.

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