‘Paper, Wood and Holes,’ Christine Stoughton and Anne Marble in sync

Ruth Wolf sees an exhibit at Rosemont College's Patricia M. Nugent Gallery and talks about how the works of Christine Stoughton and Anne Marble are in synchronicity. Wolf says the show (recently closed) was "an intimate, serene, introspective world where ephemera is presented in all it simply-complex splendor." Many artists love working with natural materials, and the works by the two artists, intermingled in a seamless way, celebrate the common ground they inhabit singly and in this exhibit, together.

A dark, animal-pelt-like fiber art work sits on a white wall, with thin twigs running through the fiber and sticking out on top and bottom and with hand stitching in white thread that funs vertically mimicking the twigs movement through the piece.
Anne Marble, “Vestige,” flax roving fabric, sticks, stitching. With permission

After reading and writing about huge monuments and the animosity they may engender (Temporary Monuments, ArtBlog, April 24 ), it is a pleasure to write about the work of Christine Stoughton and Anne Marble at Rosemont College, Patricia M. Nugent Gallery (recently closed).

On view was an intimate, serene, introspective world where ephemera is presented in all it simply-complex splendor.

On Saturday, May 25, Christine and Anne talked about their show Paper, Wood, and Holes, Conversations in Synchronicity.
Christine and Anne have studios in the Norristown Arts Building and while working independently they recognized they were on parallel aesthetic journeys. Their show at Rosemont seamlessly intermingled their paintings and constructions with plants, textiles, and furniture to present an environment that rewarded slowing down, looking closely and taking time with the work.

A small work on canvas with white, grey and black vertical stripes made with ink and string, with the strings push-pinned on top and bottom suggests the passage of time, or perhaps, if the stripes were horizontal, a medical read-out of a heart condition.
Christine Stoughton, “String Theory,” string, ink, paper, canvas. With permission

During their talk Christine and Anne spoke about first sharing their stories, about finding and experiencing art in the real world (not the white cube), about the materiality of ephemera, about the collaboration of the tactile and the visual, and how objects change as they are manipulated through play.

“What IF” becomes an aesthetic experience. Art and beauty is all around us if we look and pay attention.

Christine, in “String Theory,” attaches vertical rows of string with ink stained paper in tonalities from deep blacks to silvery grays, on canvas, resulting in what looks like a like a desiccated field in winter waiting for rejuvenation. Gray push pins anchor the upper and lower edges, casting shadows that become broken tree trunks.

A tall narrow eight-shelved cabinet with no doors stands against a white wall, filled with found objects from the natural world, some enhanced with man-made touches, including what looks like eggs, nests, rocks and twigs.
Christine Stoughton and Anne Marble, “Cabinet of Curiosities.” With permission

Anne, in “Vestige,” knits gauze like fabric (flax roving) tinted in warm browns and tans, with thin branches and stitching like a feathery, soft loam.

“Cabinet of Curiosities” is a shared experience. It houses a collaborative collection of objects – found and fabricated – that become informative relics and/or fetishes, rather than precious keepsakes.

Christine and Anne both mentioned how visual artists, for the most parts, work in isolation in their studios. In group shows, artists may share gallery space but still present separate bodies of work. In Paper, Wood and Holes, their work was a fluidly interwoven environment, just as each individual piece is made by an interwoven variety of materials.


Synchronicity becomes synergy.

PAPER, WOOD, AND HOLES: Conversations in Synchronicity, May 8 – June 3, 2024. Patricia M. Nugent Gallery. Rosemont College

Read more articles by Ruth Wolf on Artlog.