Maria Porges: Anodyne

Exhibition Dates: October 5 – October 26, 1996
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 5 from 6–8 pm
Gallery Location: 434 Julia Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday, 10 am–5 pm
Contact Info: 504.522.1999;

The Arthur Roger Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of recent work by Maria Porges. For the past decade, Porges’ work has explored the interface between image and text, object and language. In Anodyne, she combines found materials with cast and fabricated elements made out of beeswax, glass, metal or wood, in order to pose questions about the complicated relationship between healing and time.

Maria Porges, White Magic (Anodyne). 1996, wax, gold leaf, wood. 18 x 14 x 6 inches.

White Magic (Anodyne), 1996 | wax, gold leaf, wood | 18 x 14 x 6 inches

In reference to the title of the show, Porges states that “an anodyne is any substance that relieves pain or diminishes distress. Without offering any definite conclusions, this body of work tries to suggest the process an individual goes through in organizing experiences: what’s worth repeating, what should be avoided. What we learn from, and what we don’t.”

Framing the dialogue in the context of both personal and political experiences, these works suggest the artifacts seen in an old-fashioned museum. Many pieces incorporate qualities or gestures retrieved from the art of Porges’ “Eurocentric” heritage. As she explains, “I use the past to talk about the present, mining the parables and metaphors of history for some kind of clue to the time in which I live.”

Several pieces incorporate graceful, oversize hands, cast in glass, bronze or wax. Based on gestures depicted in 18th century paintings, these are meant to suggest both comfort and communications.

Other works depict a menagerie of period pharmaceutical bottles, all made of beeswax or glass, suggesting the timelessness of the search for answers in a bottle.

Maria Porges is an artist, writer and curator who has lived and worked in the San Francisco Bay area since 1979. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and an MFA from the University of Chicago. She has taught and lectured at many schools and universities, including UCLA at Berkeley and the San Francisco Art Institute.

She received the John McCarron Grant for New Writing in Art Criticism in 1988, and a California Arts Council Individual Artist’s Grant in sculpture in 1990. She has had numerous solo exhibitions around the country including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Church Gallery at the University of Nevada. This will be the artist’s first exhibition at the Arthur Roger Gallery.