Kyuko and Her Soul
scrap wrenn

As a collection of recent works, the exhibition kyuko and her soul expresses the artist’s ongoing journey as a creative seeker and Zen practitioner. This show of three large works unfolds as a continuation of the inquiries scrap pursued in her 2018 solo show “Living Visual Koans” at the John Davis Gallery in Hudson, NY. As a group, these works reference the artist and her sense of self merging after a long period of fragmented separation.

Because scrap experiences the creative process as a philosophic inquiry into the nature of reality itself, these hand constructed works from original photographs function for her as koan practice does in Zen training. The practice of creating the montages offers her meditative entry points for visual, reflective examinations that lead towards direct discovery of contemplative insights. Buddhist imagery and bodhisattvas started entering into Wrenn’s photomontages in 2013, initially as a surprise to the artist while in residency at the Vermont Studio Center. She brought a photo enlargement of a large Quan Yin image from Chinatown, and the archetypal bodhisattva’s demeanor subtly became the focus of new meditation discoveries and creative directions for scrap. Over the next few years she began seeing images of the bodhisattva of compassion everywhere she looked. Named differently according to cultures, this bodhisattva called Avalokiteshvara, Quan Yin, Kanzeon and Kannon then became a part of her compositions because the image was a part of her daily life within communities of Buddhist practitioners.

The fine art photomontages collapse innumerable moments from scrap’s lived experience. She explains that her journey as an artist has involved investigating comparative mythology to understand associative meanings and symbols that she finds unfolding in the world around her. However, she also intends for the symbolisms in her work to be open for a wide range of personal interpretations. Wrenn’s ground-shifting composite landscapes also allude to our photo-prolific cultural state— as well as environmental, social, and psychological crises we are currently confronting on a global scale. How can art heal senses of fracture and conflict toward alleviating suffering? Presenting this work, especially in a lobby space, scrap aspires to share possibilities toward relieving grief, cultivating empathy, being happy for others, and supporting peace in our chaotic world.

About the Artist 

Scrap Wrenn is a NY based artist whose primary practice is photo collage. Ms. Wrenn has widely participated in creative projects and exhibitions for 2 decades, with recent solo exhibitions at the John Davis Gallery in Hudson, NY in 2016 and 2018, showing in group shows at the Ely Center for Contemporary Art (New Haven, CT, 2019), Dorsky Museum at SUNY New Paltz (2019), Kirkland Art Center in (Clinton, NY, 2018), and Berkshire Art Association (Pittsford, MA, 2016/2023).

scrap received the graduate fellowship for MFA study in the Mount Royal School of Art at the Maryland Institute College of Art, 2006-2008. A Hemera Foundation Tending Space Fellowship in 2014 then coincided with moving her studio from Brooklyn, NY to the Hudson Valley, and beginning a dharma practice relationship with the Zen Mountain Monastery community. Teaching art at Marist College (2014-2024), she directed artist residencies at chaNorth (2015), and works with children and youth in various community creative expression programs – including workshops at the Hudson River Museum (2013), the Catskill Wheelhouse (Greene County CREATE re-grant, early 2020), and Kite’s Nest (2021).

She has been awarded residencies at Arts@Renaissance (Brooklyn, 2012), the Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts (Ithaca, NY, 2013), the Vermont Studio Center (Johnson, VT, 2013), I-Park (East Haddam, CT, 2005), Soaring Gardens Artists’ Retreat (PA, 2005, 2015), and NYC chashama studios (40 Worth St. 2004-5, Brooklyn Army Terminal B 2013-15). Her lectures on her own work include Visiting Artist talks to Capping classes at Marist College (2015/2020), a studio talk at the Saltonstall Foundation (2013), a public sculpture commission presentation in “Flow.12” on Randall’s Island with “Awakening Asylum” (2012), and a gallery talk at the Bronx Museum of the Arts in coordination with the 2011 exhibition “Bronx Calling: The First AIM Biennial.”

Scrap published essays in NURTUREart’s 2009 “Bushwick Biennial” exhibition catalogue, in “Archetime” (2009), and in “Culture and Cosmos” (2010).

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