Goddesses Here & Now, the show running at MM Fine Art in Southampton that opened on Saturday, like its title suggests, is of this moment. The two woman exhibit of mostly new, multi-media works by Audrey Flack and Amy Zerner are the prolific fruits of quarantine, odes to the spiritual healing power of art and their lifetime friendship.
“We’ve know each other since the 70s and the theme of Goddesses in our work has woven in and out separately,” East Hampton’s Amy Zerner told us. “She does monumental sculptures and I’ve done art and books about Goddesses, so this was a natural theme for us to do as a two-person show together. It’s truly a thrilling point in my career.”
Flack, the first photorealist acquired by the Museum of Modern Art and woman artist to make it into Janson’s History of Art, reclaims such maligned goddesses as Medea in a positive, powerful light to uplift, transform and heal.
Zerner’s art is also emblematic of a spiritual journey. She says her mix of mediums, the scraps and bits of imagery, fabrics, beading, embroidery and paint is “a symbolic technique for transforming my own feelings and piecing them back together.”
“We are living through a time challenged with bad news,” Zerner continues. “We’re bombarded with disasters, devastation, and conflict playing out in front of us. To balance that, I deconstruct the vintage fabrics and things from different periods of time and diverse cultures and reimagine them into a harmonious whole. It reflects a balance of inner and outer worlds, within ourselves and with nature.”
Thus, she says, “These new pieces are more vivid, a way to brighten my attitude and bring the light in. I also did a series of smaller paper collage pieces that are called My Wild Goddess, which will become a book. I made 20 — one after the other. Having this quiet and focused time, they just kept flowing out of me.”
Amy spent the first five months of the COVID-19 pandemic alone with her husband of 46 years, renown psychic and author Monte Farber. Besides the art in her show, the time also produced more collaborative books. “He illustrates my art with his wise words,” she says. They include an astrology cookbook called Signs and Seasons and one titled The Creativity Oracle, which came out in March: 80 oracle cards she created and he wrote about. “If you’re a writer or an artist, you don’t mind being locked in,” she says of their time alone. “You have to shut out the world to create, anyway.”
“I’ve been an artist all my life,” Zerner continued. “I come from a family of artists. My mother supported my family with her illustrations in children’s books. When I met Monte in 1974, I started experimenting with the fabric and mixed media. Our journey together led us to the books. We’ve done 50 together and sold 3 million internationally. We love inventing different ways to get my work out in the world, from $20 books to $5,000 jackets.” Zerner’s luxurious, flowing caftans, jackets and pants can be found in Bergdorf’s 4th floor evening department.
They feel lucky to share such a spiritual bond. “It’s important, especially now, to have faith,” says Amy, “faith in the unknown. Fear can really make us as sick as any virus. It’s so important to stay in the moment and mindful. Otherwise, you start worrying about things that don’t exist or dwelling on past things best forgotten.”
“There’s so much hate and nastiness now that we hear about because communications are so instantaneous. If you’re an empathetic person, you can’t help being affected. But, anger only hurts you, not others. The divine feminine is a healer, a nurturer. And women artists and leaders are coming into the forefront, now. So, let’s move forward with strength and courage.”
Goddesses Here & Now runs until Sunday, October 18 at MM Fine Art, which is located at 4 North Main Street in Southampton. For more information, call 631-2590-2274 or visit www.mmfineart.com.