Exhibition of Cheryl R. Riley
September 12, 2023 - December 18, 2023
The Jacques Marchais is delighted to present Synergies, its inaugural contemporary exhibition featuring works by the multi-disciplinary artist
Cheryl R. Riley.
Art wields a transformative force, carving out space for fresh creative prospects, new ideas, and cultivating vital connections between diverse communities and their environments, introducing novel
perspectives and encounters. Working within this theme, Synergies symbolizes a convergence of individual, distinct expressions that give rise to a greater, collective energy. This exhibition navigates the conversations that have always been highlighted by the vision of this Museum: cultural heritage, ancestral dialogue, and the exploration of the human spirit.
Synergies, in parallel with the Jacques Marchais Museum, both embody the act of uniting and providing room for artistic voices, styles, and mediums, celebrating identity and cultural diversity.
The exhibit features an assortment of artworks, including paintings, sculptures, installations, mixed- media pieces and more, offering an enchanting multi-sensory encounter. Included within the exhibit are works from Cheryl’s series “Glyphs” (2017), a visual collection of Sci-Fi/Afro-Futurist symbols painted using gouache and metallic ink on pages extracted from a 1957 encyclopedia. This series is the outcome of an exploration into the impact of language on societal identity and structures. Also showcased is “Kaleidoscopes” (2018), which evolved from the “Glyphs” series.
A centerpiece of Cheryl’s collection, “Strata” (2022), stands as a testament to her artistic vision and philosophical exploration. Shaped like an altar, “Strata” comprises four intricate layers, each crafted in concentric circles that ascend from the base upwards.
The initial layer, the “Molecular World,” enters into the microscopic realm, where atoms dance and molecules intertwine, forming the foundations of reality. Ascending further, the “Natural World”emerges as the second sphere, adorned with depictions of ecosystems, flora, and fauna. Continuing the ascent, the “Man-made World” occupies the third tier, celebrating the ingenuity and creativity that has shaped civilizations throughout history. The zenith of “Strata” stretches into the “Heavenly World,” the fourth and ultimate sphere. This ethereal realm transcends the physical boundaries, delving into the metaphysical and spiritual dimensions of existence.
At its core, “Strata” orchestrates a visual symphony of spheres, each intricately representing a distinct realm of existence, and in its entirety, serves as a conduit for metaphysical exploration, guiding visitors on a transformative odyssey from the elemental to the spiritual. Cheryl’s creation instigates profound reflection of the intricate web of existence, urging audiences to question their role in the cosmic ecosystem and fostering a sense of unity with the universe. This immersive installation captivates the senses and nourishes the soul, provoking contemplation on the profound connections that bind all facets of reality.
“My art explores similarities between seemingly disparate cultures viewed through the lens of gender, history, rituals, implements and symbols.”
Cheryl R. Riley
Artwork and symbology have always been reflective of the human desire to understand, and explain the world around us. Just as language, food, and music have traveled the world to evolve, carrying influence and adapting-to, and celebrating resilience of human cultures, art as a human tradition
is a testament to the strength and resilience of the human spirit, through diaspora, migration, and resettlement. We invite you to reflect on your own rituals of meaning-making through creation.
Jacques Marchais was one of the earliest collectors of Tibetan art in the United States. In 1938, she established an art gallery in Manhattan which specialized in the art of India and Tibet. Although she never traveled to Tibet, she amassed one of the earliest collections of Tibetan art in the United States. As she acquired items through auctions and estate sales – she would often keep the best pieces for her private collection.
In her lifetime, Jacques Marchais amassed a collection of over one thousand objects. The collection includes sculpture, ritual objects, musical instruments, thangkas or scroll paintings and furniture. The objects are primarily from Tibet, Nepal, northern China, and Mongolia, and a few items are from Southeast Asia. The Museum was chartered in 1945, the same year the first of the two buildings was completed.
The collection has been on view to the public since the Museum’s official opening in 1947. The Museum maintains a permanent exhibition of more than 125 objects and presents rotating exhibits that highlight specific examples of Tibetan and Himalayan culture. The artifacts in the collection represent the art of Tibet and those countries which fell within the sphere of Tibetan Buddhism, including Nepal, Bhutan, Mongolia and Northern China and date from the 12th through 20th century.