Mery Lynn McCorkle


“I am a pattern maker, using collage, acrylic paint, glitter and pencils to generate my abstractions. Finding patterns is basic to life. To recognize which prints on the ground belong to which animals, which leaves are edible, which patterns of sounds or behavior signal danger, to find food and safety we must recognize the patterns around us. We invent patterns to aid memory like archers and bears among the stars, lines representing currents around islands in bead form. Maps, writing, as well as art and science are patterns we have created to navigate the world. And patterns invariably lead to beauty, to structure, a kind of harmony.


Harmony changes as circumstances change. Symmetry is comforting when seeking epiphany and order in times of uncertainty, whether in an icon or in the linear constructions of Agnes Martin. Finding harmony in anger and dismay sometimes even leads to whimsy. Paul Klee, a master of whimsy during the rise of the Nazis in Germany, once said, ‘The more horrifying the world becomes, the more art becomes abstract.’ Abstract shapes and colors carry meaning less constrained than physical descriptions of individuals. They are our maps to a broader meaning.


Harmony is about balance. I decided that the best way to balance our dark times is with bright color. Like Indo-Islamic manuscripts, like Kandinsky, like Warhol, like quilts and much folk art, I focus on the bright lights not so much the shadows. The shadows remain nonetheless. But when everyone is in such a hurry, how does any artist share harmony or meaning? I use an abundance of details in intimately scaled works to slow down the eye. I use glitter to imitate magic.


Mery Lynn McCorkle was born in Atlanta, Georgia. She received her BA from the University of Georgia and her MFA from the University of Oregon. She has lived in Brooklyn and Los Angeles and in 2010 returned to Atlanta. Also a curator and a writer of novels about the art world, McCorkle has been exhibiting her artwork nationally and internationally since 1990.