Adam and Eve painted in red wine on cotton fabric, life-sized, no fig leaf censorship. Their bodies accentuated with gold acrylic, contoured with multiple shades of a Spanish Grenache-Syrah blend. First, exhibited in the bright sanctuary of the First Congregational United Church of Christ on Pulteney Street. Next, exhibited in the dark recesses of VOLO on Market Street.
This is The Merism, a project “meant to encourage questions more than express answers,” according to Amelia Harnas’ artist statement. “How does the context of an art exhibit affect the interpretation of the content of the art? How can something be considered sacred in one context and dangerous in another?”
The Merism is significant, physically and artistically, and we’re lucky to have a chance to view it in Corning. Beyond the work itself, it’s significant because this is the last wine stain we’ll see from Amelia Harnas.
Despite all the positive attention this artwork has received over the years, notably in Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, and The Huffington Post, Amelia has made the decision to retire from wine stains. “I feel like I’ve reached the end of the road for myself, as an artist, with the wine stains,” she shared. “I’m really excited to figure out what’s next, but I can’t do that if all I’m doing is making wine stains.”
Selfishly, I’m sad to see this part of Amelia’s journey come to an end. For 10 years, it’s been exciting to see these works – large and small – emerge in galleries and tasting rooms throughout the region. It’s also been fun to see the artwork catch fire in national publications, bringing well-deserved recognition to a local artist and friend. That said, I’m ecstatic for what may come next. Amelia’s work has always been authentically artistic; it’s performative, sensory, multi-dimensional, contemplative, and aesthetically beautiful – and there’s no telling what else her creativity may bring to the world.
While we wait for what’s next, let’s enjoy the end of Amelia’s wine stains. There will be a special opening reception, artist talk, and open discussion about these works on Friday, October 11 from 5 – 7pm at the First Congregational United Church of Christ. Amelia will also be available to discuss the artwork at VOLO on Friday, October 25, from 5 – 8pm, in tandem with the Urban Arts Crawl. Both events are free and open to the public.
For more, visit trulyamelia.com/merism. And maybe bookmark that website to keep an eye on what’s to come.