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The Imaginary Life of Ordinary Things: the dish ran away with the spoon

Thursday January 26, 2006 - Sunday March 5, 2006
The Imaginary Life of Ordinary Things: the dish ran away with the spoon David Schorr (American, born 1947), study: Two Cups, 2004, silverpoint, gouache, and gesso on linen. Courtesy Mary Ryan Gallery, New York City (photo: Phil)

For more than 30 years, David Schorr, Wesleyan University Professor of Art, has introduced art students to the world of historic prints. Every Monday he brings his printmaking students to the Davison Art Center to study the work of Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt van Rijn, and many others. In The Imaginary Life of Ordinary Things: the dish ran away with the spoon, the Davison Art Center presented Schorr's most recent works on paper and canvas together with a selection of prints that have enriched his own artwork in fruitful and surprising ways.

Schorr Obi Pink

David Schorr, Obi Pink, 2004, silverpoint, gouache, and gesso on linen. Courtesy Mary Ryan Gallery, New York City (photo: Phil)

The exhibition included 35 of Schorr's still-life paintings and drawings along with 19 prints and photographs from the Davison Art Center collection. Schorr gives life to ordinary objects--handkerchiefs, coffee cups, and saltshakers--letting them dance, float, or move like actors across a theatrical stage. He asks, "Do they dream of romance or flying or running away, or do they in fact, like servant when the master is away, play?"

As he discusses these earlier prints and photographs, Schorr points out visual wit, bravura compositions, attention to everyday objects, and mastery of light, color, and mark-making. He explains: "Just as I expect these prints will speak to my students in their own creative lives, they have become a crucial part of everything I make, both on conscious and unconscious levels."Schorr concludes, "Teaching studio art has always involved interrupting the passion students feel about their own art-making to persuade them to glance at art of the past. Requiring art history courses, hauling large books off the shelf, and showing slides all help, but as Marvin Gaye said, 'There ain't nothin' like the real thing!'" The Imaginary Life of Ordinary Things: the dish ran away with the spoon presented an ongoing conversation between a contemporary master artist and teacher and the works of the past.On Thursday 26 January, David Schorr gave a gallery talk. A reception followed. This event was open to the public free of charge. A catalog on recent work by David Schorr with an introduction by Stephen Greenblatt is still available at the gallery.