University News

Artist Winifred McNeill Explores Fragility of Human Condition in Exhibition at William Paterson University Galleries

Winifred McNeill explores the fragility of the human condition through her drawings, paintings, and sculpture in a solo exhibition at William Paterson University in Wayne at the University Galleries in the Ben Shahn Center for the Visual Arts from January 28 through March 22, 2019. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on select Saturdays and Sundays (February 10 and 24, noon to 4 p.m.; March 3 and 24, noon to 4 p.m.; and April 13 and 27, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.). Admission is free. An opening reception for the exhibition will be held on Wednesday, February 6, from 3 to 5 p.m. The artist will give a talk on Tuesday, February 26 from 2 to 3 p.m.

In her exhibition, Winifred McNeil: The Weight of the World, the artist repurposes found and commercial materials such as seashells, tiles, metal plates, and plumbing pipes as surfaces for delicate mark making. The resulting imagery is laden with historical art references, in particular 17th century traditions of Delft tile painting and Renaissance illustrations. In drawings such as Marking Time, McNeill demonstrates the illusionistic potential of graphite where voluminous bodies emerge from flat planes and handmade paper is distressed to resemble human skin.

While her human and animal subjects appear to be revived from the past, they dwell in non-descript landscapes that suggest infinite space and everlasting time. In Night Water and Intimation of Memory, solitary figures struggle for survival in the void and retreat into melancholy and despair. Throughout her paintings, drawings, and sculptures, physical movements such as flying, floating, falling, and diving through space become a metaphor for our physical and transitory existence in the universe.

McNeill received her BFA from Boston University and her MFA from Queens College, CUNY. She taught drawing and painting at St. Stephen’s School in Rome from 1980 until 1985. After returning to New York, she served as curator of education at the Jersey City Museum until 1995. She is currently a professor in the art department of New Jersey City University.

She has exhibited in national and international venues, including St. Stephen’s Cultural Foundation, Rome, Italy; Yu Chun Gallery, Suzhou, China; Morris Museum, Morristown, NJ; Hun Gallery, New York, NY; Ho Gallery Seoul, Korea; Museum of Modern Art, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Montclair Museum, Montclair, NJ; Jersey City Museum, Jersey City, NJ; and Maloney Art Gallery in the College of Saint Elizabeth, Convent Station, NJ. McNeill's work is part of many public collections including the Newark Public Library, the Zimmerli Art Museum, the New Jersey State Museum, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and Rutgers University.

McNeill's commissioned drawings for The Helen Fragments, a limited edition letterpress book published by Peter Koch Press, is in the collections of the New York Public Library, the Bancroft Library at University of California, Berkeley, the San Francisco Public Library/Arts of the Book Collection, University of Delaware Rare Books and Special Collections, Columbia University Rare Books Department, the Clark Library at UCLA, Stanford University Library, the Gunst Collection, University of California, Irvine Special Collections, University of Nevada Reno Special Collection, Vanderbilt University Library, and New Jersey City University.

The exhibition is one of two on view concurrently in the University Galleries. On view in the South and East Galleries, Rafael Soriano: Cabezas (Heads) showcases more than 20 significant paintings by the Cuban-born painter.

Funding for this exhibition has been made possible by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. The William Paterson University Galleries are wheelchair-accessible. Large-print educational materials are available. For additional information, please call the William Paterson University Galleries at 973-720-2654.