MoCA Westport announces the premiere showing of the From the Pen to the Knife exhibition, featuring an extensive number of watercolor paintings by the ground-breaking artist Marian Christy. Christy is the pioneer of the Knifed Watercolors® style, a process that shatters the traditional method of creating watercolors by using only palette knives and puddles of paint.

From the Pen to the Knife will be on view at MoCA Westport from October 15 – November 27, 2022. An opening reception for the exhibition will be held on Saturday, October 15, 2022 from 5 – 7 p.m. at the Museum. The reception is free and open to the public.

The exhibition was curated by Ruth Mannes, Executive Director of MoCA Westport; Liz Leggett, MoCA Westport’s Director of Exhibitions; and visual artist Tom Berntsen.

Christy was an award-winning journalist for the first chapter of her life. She was a writer for The Boston Globe at a time when women had limited journalistic opportunities. Her writing was nominated for two Pulitzer Prizes and was considered innovative in the areas of fashion and celebrity reporting.

She considers her time as an artist as a second chapter of her life, a time where she pivoted from “the pen to the knife.” She explains of her Knifed Watercolors process, “My focus is to make this unique signature a 21st century contemporary style, elevating watercolors to new depths and dimensions. I want to pull the viewer into the image, arouse curiosity but, most of all, to make an emotional connection silently, one-on-one.”

“I paint most scenes of our outer life. The scenes are metaphors for our inner selves. The landscapes are full of these messages. To give the viewer a broad print, I detail the feelings with a title that is a kind of code about emotions that connect us all,” Christy added.

Christy, now age 90, did not receive formal training, and has been working for the last fifteen years in her basement, sitting at an ordinary easel, held firm by used bricks to sustain her forceful palette knife strokes. Christy does not work on site nor use the plein air process of “direct observation and painting outdoors with the artist’s subject in full view.” All of her paintings are process driven. Images and figuration emerge from her imagination, with no direct reference materials.

Christy’s passion for painting developed in her childhood, but was discouraged because she was female. The sheer number of works, as well as the sensational palette and varied surfaces and textures, relay not only Christy’s joy in artmaking, but illustrate a literal and metaphorical creative explosion. Granting oneself permission to express “our inner selves” as Christy describes, is essential to every work and the artist’s unique history.

“Marian Christy is someone who has always pushed boundaries – as a woman, as a journalist and as an artist. She was not deterred by what others expected of her and she forged her own path,” stated Ruth Mannes, Co-Curator and Executive Director of MoCA Westport.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to share Christy’s watercolors with the public. These specific paintings have never before been viewed together as a collection, and we are thrilled to give her work the exposure it deserves,” added Mannes.

The exhibition is on view during MoCA Westport’s Fall Gallery Hours: Wednesday 12 – 4 | Thursday 12 – 7 | Friday – Sunday 12 – 4 PM.

The exhibition is generously sponsored by Hofstetter Baron Group at Wells Fargo Advisors.

More About Marian Christy

Originally from Ridgefield, CT, author and journalist Marian Christy had a twenty-six-year career at The Boston Globe (1965 – 1991). She was twice nominated for The Pulitzer Prize (1983 – 1984), was awarded 30 prestigious national and international journalism awards, and has had her work syndicated world-wide. She is the only three-time winner of the prestigious JCPenny-University of Missouri Journalism Award. After she conquered the world of fashion reporting, she forged and established a trail blazing column, CONVERSATIONS, mentored by The Globe’s then-editor, the late Tom Winship. She was named one of America’s top five journalists by Cosmopolitan Magazine (1978). She has published four books on journalism, one on Knifed Watercolors, and recently her first novel, Dumbbell.

Christy has exhibited her artwork in numerous galleries throughout the United States. Just recently, Christy was recently chosen for The ART Prize, an international competition. Her Knifed Watercolors process was validated by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office in 2014. She currently resides in the greater Boston, MA area.

 

Supporting Programming

  • Cocktails & Conversation: Thursdays at 6PM

MoCA’s series features an exciting line-up of speakers relevant to the exhibition on select Thursday evenings. Speakers begin at 6 PM sharp, so please arrive early to purchase a custom cocktail and experience From The Pen To The Knife. Advance registration is requested on mocawestport.org. Dates/speakers TBA.

  • Paint & Sip (Adults): Thursdays at 5PM

Join MoCA Westport for Happy Hour and watercolor painting during the course of the exhibition; registration will be available on mocawestport.org.

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