Aug 3, 2017
BATAVIA — Mary Ann Fritz’s art isn’t exactly unique, but it’s quite rare. Especially among artists who have exhibited in the GLOW region. That’s because she combines various media forms to create pieces that look unlike anything anyone else is doing.
Most of her art is acrylic painting on fabric squares. But it also includes sun printing, nature printing, stamping, screen printing, stenciling and appliqué.
An exhibit of Fritz’s work, “Color Impressions,” is currently on display in the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council’s Main Gallery, Seymour Place, 201 E. Main St. The exhibit features 30 pieces of her work, including wearable art, and runs through Sept. 10.
Most of the pieces begin as a white square of cotton fabric that Fritz slowly transforms through an arduous series of steps into a colorful expression.
“Technically, it’s a quilt,” Fritz explained. “If I go into a new gallery, I don’t mention quilt, because they think of a bed. A quilt would be a top front with batting in the middle and a backing. I decided I didn’t want to do that kid of quilt; I wanted to do my kind of painting on fabric and turn it into an art piece.”
Fritz, who lives in Machias, also has no idea what the finished product is going to look like when she begins.
“In some cases, I have a vague idea, but most of the time, I don’t have a plan,” she said. “After the first layer, it starts to talk to me, then I see where I should add some dark here or a leaf print there. Each one is different.”
GO-Art! Executive Director Gregory Hallock found the art intriguing and suggested that Fritz should apply to show in the main gallery. What exactly did he like about it?
“Everything,” he said. “I can’t do this, so I like anything that is beyond me. I can’t even imagine how many hours she put into this. The prices on these pieces probably average out to about 50 cents per hour. They’re just incredible. I love the colors. She has all different aspects; she’s got painting involved with quilting and printing. She’s got all of her medias in one creation.”
The exhibit wasn’t supposed go on display until July 2019, but a change in the schedule allowed Fritz to move into the open time slot.
The opposing long walls of the gallery show two series of paintings with different themes: one purple, the other nature. Fritz said that she loves purple and considers it a neutral color. The nature series appeals to her childhood of growing up in rural West Valley and how she always finds happiness in the outdoors.
Two of the more intriguing pieces stand in opposite corners of the gallery. One is a shirt hanging on an illuminated mannequin (the light from within really pops the deep greens on the shirt. The other is a self-portrait that shows Fritz with flowers growing out of her head.
“I had seen an article in an art magazine where someone was doing self-portraits, and they don’t look like you, but they have your color and your hobby and a theme,” she said. “I love flower gardening, so I said this was going to be my self-portrait of me in a garden.” A reception for the exhibit will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 24 in the gallery.