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Past Perfection

Vadis Turner

185 Varick Street

September 26 – October 27, 2013

Installation view, Vadis Turner, Past Perfection, Geary Contemporary, 2014

Installation view, Vadis Turner, Past Perfection, Geary Contemporary, 2014

Past Perfection
Past Perfection
Air Sample (blue), 2013, fabric, ribbon, mixed media

Air Sample (blue), 2013

fabric, ribbon, mixed media

20"x 24"x 4"

Soil Swamp Sample, 2013, fabric, ribbon, mixed media

Soil Swamp Sample, 2013

fabric, ribbon, mixed media

29"x 23"x 3"

Air Sample (black), 2013, fabric, ribbon, mixed media

Air Sample (black), 2013

fabric, ribbon, mixed media

27"x 21"x 3"

Water Samples (particle), 2013, fabric, ribbon, mixed media

Water Samples (particle), 2013

fabric, ribbon, mixed media

29"x 23"x 3"

Water Samples (stain), 2013, fabric, ribbon, mixed media

Water Samples (stain), 2013

fabric, ribbon, mixed media

29"x 23"x 3"

Press Release

NEW YORK, NY (September 3, 2013) – Jack Geary is pleased to announce the opening of his exhibition, Vadis Turner: Past Perfection. Featuring Turner’s recent work, the exhibition focuses on her use of fabric and mixed media. The show will be on viewSeptember 27th - October 26th at the gallery’s new location, 185 Varick Street.


Turner’s work is concerned with the way we make ourselves beautiful, but also is in dialogue with the inherent beauty of decay and its powerful finality. Along with her paintings, Turner created four “storm skirts” which are intricate dresses that each embody a powerful natural event. Her work suggests to the viewer humility and passivity contrasted with world changing power. Despite the seemingly quotidian nature of her method and materials—recycled materials and labor intensive sewing and weaving by hand, Turner reminds us that there is a world about to be upended by the power of one quietly eaten apple.


“In this new work, a vision of The Garden of Eden, post-apple, the work is placed on a woven support rather than canvas, and uses “brush strokes” made  of richly-colored sewed ribbons and fabrics, which are at times billowing and ecstatic, and  elsewhere focused, concentrated and dense. The variations of texture enhance the variegated play: shimmery, silky ribbon; tough, utilitarian cords; and smooth bed sheets, torn and wrung into tight ropes” writes Sarah Andress.


In the months leading up to this exhibition, Turner was the artist-in-residence at Materials for the Arts, in Long Island City, Queens. Turner is the third ever artist-in-residence at MFTA, a program where artists create new work reusing and transforming materials donated by the city's different industries to MFTA's ever-changing warehouse. An exhibition of her work will also be on view at the Material for the Arts Gallery starting on September 12th.


Vadis Turner: Past Perfection will be open from September 27– October 26 at 185 Varick Street (185 Varick Street, corner of Varick and King, New York City).


Exhibition hours:

Preview – Thursday, September 26: 6–8PM

Wednesday–Sunday: 12-6PM

Mondays and Tuesdays: Open by appointment



Vadis Turner has developed a palette of mixed media materials connected to gender roles and rites of passage. She transforms decorative adornments, clothing and textiles into unconventional abstract paintings. Turner has exhibited across the US and abroad including the Brooklyn Museum, National Gallery in Prague, Andy Warhol Museum, Bass Art Museum, Hunter Museum of American Art, Islip Art Museum, National Museum of Trinidad and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum of Art, 21C Museum, Tennessee State Museum, Kentucky Arts and Crafts Museum and the Egon Schiele Art Centrum. Turner was born in Nashville Tennessee. She received her BFA and MFA from Boston University. Vadis lives and works in Brooklyn. She is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Pratt Institute. In 2013, she has been an artist in residence at the Museum of Art and Design and Materials for the Arts.



Materials for the Arts (MFTA) is a program of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs. As New York’s premiere reuse center, we provide a way for companies and individuals to donate unneeded supplies to thousands of arts programs at nonprofits, public schools, and other government agencies.   We have diverted over 1 million pounds of materials per year by connecting people with supplies to creative and educational activities across the five boroughs.  We also offer a wide variety of events, workshops, and classes to help people see and experience creative reuse up close. We work in collaboration with NYC Departments of Education and Sanitation, and Friends of Materials for the Arts is our official nonprofit partner.  


Materials for the Arts will be participating in the Marfa Dialogues in October – November 2013, brought to New York City by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Ballroom Marfa, and the Public Concern Foundation. MFTA joins a group of 18 programs and organizations across the city that will examine climate change science, environmental activism, and artistic practice through exhibitions, public events, discussions, and other programming.


The MFTA Gallery presents the new artwork of artist-in-residence Vadis Turner.  Her new work, Storm Systems, resembles abstract paintings and are created with ribbons and fabric donated by NYC’s fashion industries to Materials for the Arts. 

Vadis re-imagines gender roles, rites of passage, and the classification of heirlooms in a contemporary cultural context. Her craft-based process synthesizes her mixed media palette with her abstract painting background. She “paints” with layers of ribbon, dyed clothing, and hand-sewn textiles; the materials become marks, drips and washes.