Artist Margaret Matheson’s print exhibit, “Mythos: The Stories We Share,” found a temporary home on the previously-bare walls of the Chrysalis Gathering Space.
Matheson’s work, which will be on display until Dec. 1, is the first to be hosted there. Chrysalis offers a variety of programs such as yoga, sitting meditation and other classes.
“The idea is, I think it’s especially important with everything going on, is to provide a place for people to center and to look more deeply at things, especially things that they may take for granted,” Clayton said. “That often goes under the umbrella term of ‘spiritual.”
Matheson, a former applications chemist, has worked with printmaking for the past five years and spent decades painting. The theme of Matheson’s work coincides with Chrysalis’s current focus of study: ideas of myth and narrative.
“The space (Chrysalis) used to be very plain and not very attractive,” Matheson said. “We had decided to fix up the space and one thing they wanted to do for a long time, this was pre-dating when I got involved, was have art that would reflect whatever the current semester’s theme is.”
Matheson described this particular collection, a series of monoprints, as “spontaneous.” She said the process of printmaking – which entails the collaging of items like stencils, leaves or other drawings and subsequently pressing them with ink – allows her a lot of freedom.
“It’s experimental, it’s kind of like, ‘let’s see what this looks like,’” Matheson said. “Sometimes it comes out (badly) and other times it comes out and it still shows promise and you might add something.”
Additionally, Matheson explained a lot of her creative process was inspired by her experiences with literature.
“I think we all have read things that have just changed our lives or transformed us,” Matheson said. “This mythological, mytho-poetic sides of life has really changed me and spoken to me, so I feel connected to it all when I’m working with them.”
Since Chrysalis offered workshops on the ideas of Jungian psychology, Matheson said she utilized imagery and concepts referencing the same concepts. One of the most prominent, the idea of archetypes as structures in society, played an important role in the exhibit.
“There’s a lot of archetypes,” Matheson said. “When you start working with them and studying them, you can see how they’re playing out both in one’s own life and in culture around us. So, it’s interesting. It’s partly a ‘heal thyself to help heal the world’ process and it’s partly an intellectual process.”
Matheson gave the examples of a child being seen as something to be protected in conjunction with the idea of a mother.
“When you start working with them and studying them, you can see how they’re playing out both in one’s own life and in culture around us,” Matheson said.
Within some of the prints in the collection, Matheson utilized maritime imagery to use the ocean as a symbol of “unconsciousness.”
“When you go deep into yourself and see what’s there, it’s not all pretty,” Matheson said. “But there’s also beauty. We can all perhaps wish we didn’t have resentments, anger and so-forth. It’s a mixture of beauty and not beauty, but the overall picture is beautiful.”
Clayton explained that Chrysalis seeks to provide these types of experiences to any individual who seeks them.
“The idea is for it to be an opportunity for people to come from any religious or nonreligious or even anti-religious background to explore and be in community and expand their thinking about different things,” Clayton said.
Many of Chrysalis’ events are pay-what-you-can and discounted rates are given to students. To find more information, visit their website.
Georgia Geen, Contributing Writer