ST. JOHNSBURY – Northeast Kingdom Artisans Back Room Gallery has two exhibits open to the public this month. The finale of “Angel Dances, the Art of Mardi McGregor” ends on Saturday, May 6, with her paintings and collages, of scenes of real landscapes, and ventures into the realm of Gods and Goddesses.
A week later, on May 11, a new exhibit opens with the title “Hail Mary, Full of Glass, the Mosaic art of Mary Taponga”. The title is based on the name of the studio/gallery the artist owned in Portland, Ore., as well as the name of her business now that she has moved to Vermont.
Taponga writes of her work: “My mosaic work covers a range of sometimes religious and secular portraits, crosses, rosaries, tables, lamps, etc. The portraits are fabricated using various accumulated materials, images and layering. Working mostly from my photographic images and drawings the portraits are made from found and recycled materials gathered from my everyday surroundings.”
Born in Springfield, Ohio, Taponga is the eighth of nine siblings. She attended the University of Cincinnati, studying graphic design and graduated with a BFA in Photography from the Art Academy of Cincinnati.
After graduation she moved to Portland, where she worked as a freelance photographer, and began dabbling in mosaic arts as a sideline, before opening her studio and store.
In 2014, she began a month-long artist residency at Catamount Arts, in St. Johnsbury. Teaching her art form and creating public art that resides on the front grounds of the Art Center, she also found that she was intrigued enough with a love of Vermont that she moved here in 2022. One of her works, a portrait of the singer Prince was in the recent Catamount annual artists showcase.
There will be an opening party on Saturday, May 13, from 4 p.m. to 6, p.m., to meet the artist. Refreshments will be served. Taponga will also have a special workshop on Friday, June 30, as part of St. Johnsbury’s “Final Friday Celebrations.
The Guild is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and is located at 430 Railroad Avenue. Call (802) 748-0158 during store hours or follow the Guild on Facebook, Instagram and on our website, NEKartisansguild.com.