"Liquid Pages: Chris Perry at the Schumacher Gallery" is an exhibition of the artist's work on display at Westover from Sept. 21 through Nov. 16.
173 Ripples drizzle – a work by artist Chris Perry featured in his exhibition at Westover
Artist Chris Perry Exhibition in Westover's Schumacher Gallery
"Liquid Pages: Chris Perry at the Schumacher Gallery" – an exhibition of the works of artist Chris Perry that incorporates elements of book-binding with themes inspired by water in all its forms – will be on display at Westover from September 21 through November 16. A reception with the artist will be held in the gallery on Friday, September 28, from 6 to 7 pm; the event is open to the public.
The centerpiece of the exhibition will be 184 Ripples: groundwater, a piece that Perry created specifically for the gallery space at Westover. "The first time I saw the Schumacher Gallery with its high ceiling and the large wall facing the main entrance, I knew immediately what to do with it," Perry said. "While still exploring the small spaces I occasionally create within a few hand-cut volumes I am actively planning on pieces that address entire rooms using thousands of volumes to depict water structures such as a hurricane or tsunami, a storm front or clouds."
Perry noted that "the focus of the work is always water, in all its forms and effects on other things, both man-made and natural. The works incorporate a number of signature elements to elicit the information I wish the viewer to take away, in the same fashion a writer will use the same elements repeatedly in her writing, like using odd names, or staging the action in the same time period or location over and over, or simply to having a particular way of crafting sentences.
"184 Ripples: groundwater covers 65 percent of the wall up to 18 feet high," Perry explained. "It uses more than 200 volumes mounted so that they pitch out with some of them sporting cut paper ribbons of varying length. The inspiration, following the water theme, comes from the road cuts one drives through on a highway, cuts that in winter have long icicles and ice falls formed by the freezing of the water seeping from between the layers of cut rock. This is the result of groundwater finding an escape after having trickled through the many layers of rock.
"Having the opportunity to produce and install such large works is what drives me," Perry said. "That and cutting paper, over and over and over."
Speaking about the evolution of his work, Perry explained, "The interest in book-binding grew out of a need to create a demonstrative piece for a planned published work that incorporated many hundreds of drawings in a hand-bound book. I soon found that the process of book-binding, especially binding hand-cut pages that emulated what happens in a flip book, took over all of my studio time. The early pieces were stand-alone, single volumes that had a small number of pages, each carefully planned and cut into moving shapes, all within the body of the volume. As they became more complicated they accumulated multiple volumes and started to 'sprout' appendages of cut paper that extended from all edges and eventually from the spine as well."
In his career, Perry completed his degreed study in painting by moving to New York City, where he worked in the art world, first at the Guggenheim Museum, and later for a selection of artists. His own work progressed slowly while he pursued a career in architectural woodworking until 2007, when he returned to making art full-time. After residing in Lower Manhattan for almost 40 years, Perry and his wife moved to Ridgefield in 2015, where they both have studios in their home.
Working with Perry to create the exhibition, faculty members Ali Hildebrand and Caleb Portfolio – who serve as co-managers of the Schumacher Gallery – along with four students visited Perry's studio to meet with the artist, talk to him about his work, and select other pieces that will also be part of the exhibition along with 184 Ripples: groundwater. Perry is also working with students and faculty on a project to create handmade books as part of the School's academic year theme for 2018-2019: "Owning Our Narrative."
Westover's Schumacher Gallery is located in the Louise B. Dillingham Performing Arts Center on South Street. Visitors must access the gallery through the main entrance of the School. The gallery is open Mondays through Fridays from 12 noon until 5 pm and Saturdays from 1 to 5 pm; it is closed on Sundays.