Mixed Bag: Recent Abstractions on Yupo GraySpace Gallery, January 8 through February 28, 2016

Mixed Bag is about peering into the psychic satchel of our
souls and seeing what is there.What we are carrying around
with us in the form of things, thoughts, impulses… hopes,
dreams and wishes. Much of what we find is random. Passing thoughts, things fixated on for a moment or two, perhaps a passing fancy. Mixed Bag is the unwilled ongoing slideshow of objects and emotions that move us forward on an unconscious path towards some sense of meaning, completion, fulfillment, or actualization. Random, sometimes cluttered, sometimes sparse, some of the contents are major players, while others have just bit parts.

As an artist, I am interested in the swirling subconscious energies that are pre-thought, and the seeming randomness of that energy’s manifestation into conscious perception and awareness.What propels the direction of this energy? Are we pre-programmed to follow a certain course in life? Are these impulses we carry with us from Day One?

The contents of the Mixed Bag seem to change over time, perhaps guided by a Higher Knowing to add and subtract things and thoughts and whatnot as needed to carry out some elusive personal plotline.

The awkward shapes in the acrylic/mixed media paintings of Mixed Bag reflect a quirky undoing of the neatly structured life I’ve enjoyed over the past couple decades. Herky jerky and a little unformed, the contents are a mix of the known and unknown.A mystery and a surprise each time I peer into the satchel. Impulses — maybe the same ones that move me around on a dance floor in my own world of gesture and funky rhythm — giving form to raw energy.

Peggy Ferris was formally educated in art and design at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, Holland and at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Her return to the fine arts follows a successful 20 year career as a graphic designer. Breaking free of the regimentation of graphic design, her current work is loose and spontaneous, but the designer’s eye for color and composition prevail. Ferris states, “As I paint, I seek the moment of recognition when the forms I’m creating and the inspiring impulse are in resonance.”

Peggy Ferris’s work is shown throughout California and was recently featured in the Los Angeles Art Show and the Bakersfield Museum of Art. She was awarded a major solo show at the San Luis Obispo Art Museum, in San Luis Obispo, CA. Her work is held in public and private collections throughout the U.S. and Europe.




For reasons I do not entirely comprehend, I have desired to paint from the moment I saw my first abstract art exhibit in Tel Aviv, Israel. At the time, I had just completed my army service and was embarking on a professional career in Physical Organic Chemistry, which continued until 2005.

Up until that time, my focus had been on music (piano) and science. I don’t recall drawing or painting at school but I remember being overwhelmed and intensely moved by the explosion of color I witnessed. I immediately signed up for a short studio art class and fell in love with the process. I knew that someday I would love to devote more time to it.

It wasn’t until 25 years later that I finally took another art class: learning to see and draw, and the basics of paintings. Another 10 years passed before I finally retired and became able to devote my full attention to painting and further art classes.

I am mostly drawn to non-objective art. It’s taken me a long while to articulate why this form of art appeals to me as much as it does. An abstract painting to me is a pure expression of color and form, much like a musical melody you can hear and hum, with no words – just tones and rhythm. It is not meant to describe a scene, a thing, a thought or a message. It simply plays color and rhythm in a visual melody that words cannot describe.

It is curious that people never ask themselves, “What is this melody or symphony or concerto supposed to mean?” Yet when viewing a painting, one frequently seeks a reference in reality.  Perhaps because I played the piano for many years, I’ve never felt at odds with a “message-free” visual expression. When I envision a painting, I see the initial colors. Form evolves to serve the colors, which continue to evolve to serve emerging forms; it’s a dialog, an effort to achieve some happy balance of the two.

I paint in oils and acrylics, frequently using a palette knife which allows me to apply broad strokes of color, wet on wet, while modifying the image with every knife stroke.