Serena Perrone: Reverie

Swarthmore College, List Gallery, Swarthmore, PA

Serena Perrone's solo exhibition Reverie is on view at the Swarthmore College List Gallery September 5-October 27, 2013. Artist's Lecture (4:30) and Reception (5:30-7:00) on Thursday, September 19, both free and open to the public.


The William J. Cooper Foundation provides a varied program of lectures, performances and exhibitions which enriches the academic work of Swarthmore College. The Foundation was established by William J. Cooper who specified that the income from his gift should be used "in bringing to the college eminent citizens of this and other countries who are leaders in statesmanship, education, the arts, sciences, learned professions and business."   The Cooper Foundation has provided generous funding for the exhibition and the publication of an exhibition catalog.  

From the Press Release: 
"Featured works include six prints from Perrone's ambitious series In The Realm of Reverie (2006-2008), which are four-foot-high by six-foot-wide woodcut prints with goldpoint and silverpoint drawing on Mylar.  The works blend autobiography, mythmaking, and a yearning for both the familiar and the exotic.  In each print, Perrone uses the expressive language of woodcut printing to dramatize figures, architectural features, and foliage in the foreground and middle ground.  In contrast to the gold and umber tones of the printing ink, Perrone portrays distant vistas in the soft, luminous, and ethereal tones of silverpoint and goldpoint drawing.  The two mediums comment on each other, imply contrasting states of awareness, and question the other's primacy, reality, and completeness.  

Other works on view include two mixed media print portfolios inspired by the life and death of Craig Arnold, a celebrated poet whose obsession with exploring volcanoes led to his disappearance and presumed death in 2009 on the island of Kuchinoerabujima, Japan.  Recognizing her own cultural dislocation, wanderlust, and desire to reconcile the sublime and the familiar, Perrone created A Volcano Pilgrim in Exchange for Fire (2010), a series of twenty prints housed in a handmade portfolio.  A companion series, Maintaining a Safe Distance and Living to Tell (2012), will be displayed on a curved wall in the List Gallery's rear room, allowing for a continuous 26-foot panorama.  Such narrative works invite viewers to explore changing pathways, both external and internal, and corresponding changes in attitudes of inquiry, detachment, perception, wonder, and reflection.

Serena Perrone's art explores the intersection of narrative, history, psychology, and semiotics.  Her mixed media works, such as the seven mixed media woodcuts in the Fictive Homelands series (2009), prompt us to reflect upon the way we blend fact and fiction, the experienced and the imagined.  As Andrea Packard writes in her catalog essay, Perrone's works "confront the loss, longing, and fear that well up unexpectedly in reverie as well as the redemptive power of art to transform and mediate intense emotions.  She distills imagery from diverse sources - both scenic and unsettling - ranging from childhood memories of family separation to her observations of volcanic phenomena around the world.  Although her mesmerizing figure groups and landscapes revel in reverie, they are also critically analytical and self-conscious."

September 10, 2013
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