Teaching a Stone to Talk

As an artist, Madelaine Shellaby leaves no stone unturned. She works in ceramics, manipulates photographic images, paints, and writes and binds her own books. She produces installation art, such as one she did for the Princeton Artists Alliance 2005 exhibit Vision and Voice at the New Jersey State Museum.

On Jan. 31, the Belle Mead resident will offer a “stone storytime” at soho20 Gallery in Chelsea, N.Y.  “Which Stone A Fable?: Stone Storytime” begins at 4 p.m., and will be followed by conversation and discussion about stonestories.

“I am interested in the ritual and power of stones,” says Ms. Shellaby, who began collecting stone stories with one from her sister-in-law: While the sister-in-law was visiting Seattle, she became smitten with the hillside homes overlooking the Cascade Mountains and Puget Sound. She placed a stone she loved there, and years later, the piece of land came up for sale and she bought it.
“Some would say it was coincidence, but she says it was the stone,” says Ms. Shellaby.

A fist-sized black stone sits under cover of glass with the label, “a dangerous stone used to inflict curses on one’s enemies.”  The label also notes that the stone was bequeathed to a young woman by her Irish grandparents.  A maladictive stone on display quickly begs the question as to why anyone would house such a stone, let alone question its power to curse?  Is the story about this stone’s power true?  What determines truth?

That is exactly the kind of questions that arise at Madelaine Shellaby’s current exhibition at soho20 gallery.  The archive/exhibition is comprised of various objects, some handmade by the artist and some found.  Snippets of truth, fact, fantasy and fiction are woven together to create Shellaby’s archive, on view through January 31st.

Visit with the artist and others as they share stories of stones collected throughout generations or simply overheard by passersby.  Visitors are encouraged to bring stones or stories to share as we examine the phenomenon of the power of stones.

The free talk will be accompanied by a light reception. The gallery is located at 511 West 25 St., Suite 605, New York.

This entry was posted in Book Arts, Central NJ Art, Chelsea, Environment, Photography, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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