On April 1, Massoniart welcomes father and son Greg and Jon Mort for the opening of the Spring 2017 exhibition – “Full Circle.” For over 25 years, the Carla Massoni Gallery has represented internationally acclaimed artist and amateur astronomer Greg Mort. His artwork reflects a fascination with the intersection of art and science and his passion for ecological issues.
His work can be found in museums throughout the world and in the private collections of three United States presidents, two vice presidents, as well as in numerous embassies as part of the State Department’s Art in Embassies program. Greg serves as a member of the executive board of the Lowell Observatory and in 2007 established The Art of Stewardship Project, which supports and encourages artists to use their talents to promote awareness of the Earth’s fragile beauty and the delicate balance between sustainability and the needs of mankind.
His son, Jon Mort, is no stranger to the gallery or the larger art world. He began participating in juried showings as a teen and has been in over 20 gallery exhibitions. His first showing at Massoniart was in the “Next Generation” exhibition in 2007. A graduate of Franklin and Marshall College, Jon went on to earn a master’s degree in architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design. There is no effective way to measure the enormous value of the tutelage provided by his father throughout Jon’s life. Both father and son are balanced on the seesaw of art and science in virtually all of their undertakings.
Also featured in the “Full Circle” exhibition is sculptor and installation artist Sara Bakken. She holds a BFA in glass and fibers from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Sara has exhibited widely and is also an alumna of the 2007 “Next Generation” exhibition. Her goal to create art and create a positive impact on the planet resulted in her selection to participate in a biophilia research residency this summer in Canada.
“Creative journeys often begin with wonder,” Greg Mort said, when discussing his new body of work. “On a recent visit to the Uffizi in Florence, I viewed Michelangelo’s Doni Tondo and was captivated by the image: its circular design, and especially the three-dimensionality of the figures. This experience ignited my desire to transform a two-dimensional surface into a three-dimensional – as well as spherical – form, forcing the viewer to see and wonder beyond the image. I have long admired physicist Steven Hawking’s use of a sphere to illustrate that while the universe has no edges, yet it is limited, not limitless.” He says, “Think of the surface of a sphere. On that surface you can travel North, South, East and West and every direction in between. From this curved plane perspective you indeed never find an edge. That surface has a finite area but really no beginning or end… there’s only the surface; there is no place above or below the surface. So what is above the curved plane of the sphere becomes a meaningless question.”
Like a circle or a sphere, the “Full Circle” collection of Greg Mort paintings has no edges, borders or endings. He wanted the images to relate to the continuous surface of our Earth and the mystery of space. The paintings are all the same size: 48 inches in diameter, coincidentally, the same size as the Doni Tondo.
In the last few years, Jon has found himself captivated by circles. They have appeared more frequently in his work and once he noticed this happening and started looking for them, circles were everywhere: in art and architecture, and engineering and technology.
In discussing his new work he shared, “Always a storyteller first, the cyclical, infinite narrative potential of circles settled over me, for the best stories in reality have neither end nor beginning; which is to say, they have both, and each is the other. Inalterably the son of an astronomer, I saw circles echoing both the false blue dome of the daytime sky and the inky, star-peppered abyss of night.”
Jon’s work reflects his belief that there is an ancientness to the universe and to the heritage of living systems, that there is a connectedness of all living organisms and systems, that there is a connectedness of life to all non-living matter and structures and there is a cyclicality to all living systems. It all comes Full Circle.
Full Circle opens on Saturday, April 1. There will be an Open House reception from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and an Artists’ Talk at 1 p.m. For those unable to attend the opening reception, enjoy Chestertown’s April First Friday (April 7) town-wide celebration and a reception at Massoniart from 5 to 7:30 p.m. All events are free and open to the public.