Playful fabrics and edgy toys on display at CYCA

By Nanette Davis

Textures, toys, and stories will be on display at the CYCA offices from May to June. Parallel Lives: Art from 2 Minds, 4 Hands captures the spirit and sense of two Memphis area artists. Jean Holmgren and Paula Kovarik met at Craft B, a gathering of women artists sharing their work for reflection and inspiration. After meeting, Paula started a doodle which she shared with Jean, who took that image, expanded it, and returned it to Paula to continue the creative expression back and forth. This experiment led them to making art together.

Jean Holmgren and Paula Kovarik have both worked as graphic designers but find art in odd and different directions. The show includes Toys from the Other Side by Jean Holmgren, art quilts from Paula Kovarik, and Conversation Piece, an installation revealing their collaborative process.

Jean Holmgren has worked as a freelance illustrator, an instructor at Memphis College of Art and the University of Memphis, and as an award winning graphic designer. Her collection of sculptures and mixed media pieces are inspired by Tom Waits lyrics and life’s lessons on how to be a woman. Jeans says that in Parallel Lives she and Paula are, “exploring the issues of women in transition, the duality of societal roles, personal growth, and the pressures we place on ourselves as women of a certain age.”

While Jean Holmgren may be a new name to many in Cooper-Young, Paula Kovarik is well known. Her hands have touched our community in many ways. Paula lived in CY for over 20 years with her family. Her graphic design business, Shades of Gray, was located on Cooper Street where Midtown Acupuncture and the Barefoot Bride now reside. She created the self-guided walking tour brochure for the Trestle Art in 2000 and the 1997 CY Festival poster. Most recently she updated the historic map of the neighborhood and designed the book, Cooper-Young: A Community that Works, written by Lisa Lumb and Jim Kovarik, Paula’s husband.

Paula’s medium is fabric and thread. Her nationally recognized quilts reveal a quirky doodle-strewn DNA. She surfaces what lies beneath in streams of threads, colors, and patterns. In the new medium of art quilts, her work is a storyboard of complex cities, gardens, and global systems.

Parallel Lives can be viewed May 20 to June 11 at the CYCA offices (2298 Young Avenue) on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from noon–5pm and Tuesdays from 12:30–6pm. The opening reception will be held from 6-9pm on Friday, May 20, and all are welcome to attend. To book a private showing, please call 901-725-0308.

Parallel Lives is the first show to be held in the CYCA offices. This is just what the organization had in mind when they redesigned their office space after the fire in September 2010. If you are interested is holding an art show in this space, please call 901-272-2922 for more information.

Author: LampLighter

The voice of Cooper-Young, a vibrant, diverse neighborhood to live, work and play, in the heart of Midtown Memphis, Tennessee.

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1 Comment

  1. I think Jean Holmgren’s work is GREAT! I hope Cooper-Young comes out and supports and celebrates these artists.

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