The Whole Shebang! Recent Paintings, Photographs & Works on Paper by Maria Elena Ferran Maria Elena Ferran, a visual artist and writer, is considered one of New York’s early 80's artists; studying painting, photography and design at Sweet Briar College and New York's School of Visual Arts where she entered the New York art scene on the heels of Keith Haring’s pop graffiti style and Jean-Michel Basquiat's brute neo-expressionist /primitive graffiti movement. Her early works on paper and canvas demonstrate her early influences of Andy Warhol, Willem DeKooning, Jackson Pollock, Ben Nicholson, Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Vincent Van Gogh. Sweet Briar art professor Loren Oliver, a student of Mark Rothko while at Tulane University likened her colorful Virginia landscapes to those of Oscar Kokoshka and Richard Diebenkorn. She personally showed her New York canvases in a personal conference with Andy Warhol when she was 19 and was photographed with Mr. Warhol by his Velvet Underground and Factory documentary photographer and co-founder of Interview Magazine, Gerard Malanga. Maria Elena spent summers at Columbia University while working at Morgan Stanley & Co., attending art school and creating art. She also spent time on Long Island coordinating and moving art for Louise Nevelson, Elaine DeKooning and masterworks including Rodin sculptures with a private art transport company. This broad exposure deepened and developed Maria Elena's understanding of the world around her, fine art, her own taste levels, creative process and preoccupation with iconic imagery and the immense power of commercial design and global branding. While living in London and working for the design firm Michael Peters Group, Maria Elena came to fully appreciate the American visual "strobe light" iconography present in global advertising, design and contemporary art. There she continued to write and make art. While her New York contemporaries turned to Punk, Graffiti and Street Art, Maria Elena continued to develop her excursionary and fragmented neo- abstract expressionist style while incorporating the layered influence and information of her experience, working on paper, canvas, and assemblage. In 2008 she made a significant creative departure from her abstract compositions and created her first series of politically informed art. Maria Elena began documenting the demise of the American middle class and global banking crisis with her paper collage "Media Circus". Oil paintings and mixed media collages and drawings soon followed, adding more depth to her body of work as she continued to visually interpret and incorporate the rapid conflicts and cataclysmic events that defined 21st Century America into her art. In 1993 Maria Elena was the recipient of a writing Fellowship at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her early solo exhibits in Northport, Long Island’s Little Gallery, and The Union Gallery at Stony Brook University were followed by her progression through the early Charlotte, NC NODA art scene in the late 90’s where she exhibited work with Charlotte Foust’s Millennium Gallery, Elise Miller Fine Art in Saint Simon’s Island, GA, Area 15 Artist Space, MAYK Gallery, Saatchi Online, and most recently, the 2013 National Juried Exhibit “Chautauqua: Crossroads” at the Fred Parker Giles Gallery at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky. In 2012 Maria Elena began to further explore photography. Her current body of photography work incorporates light, movement and atmospheric tonalism set in architectural cityscapes using hyper-dimensional electronic light drags. Maria Elena lives and works in Charlotte, NC and is currently showing her work nationally.
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