A Q&A with artist Teri Dryden on being process-oriented and inspired by Bernheim Forest

Collage artist and painter Teri Dryden (teridryden.com) is a small bundle of creativity wrapped in a smile. She’s a transplant to Louisville, and I met her at one of her early exhibitions. I appreciated her art before actually meeting her. This art and this artist are a great combination and certainly worth getting to know together.

You create art in a familiar way, yet I don’t know a lot of artists working in the medium. Please tell us what you do.
My artwork is undeniably process-oriented. I begin each picture with a line. I have no specific outcome in mind. I respond to the changes in the painting, as I explore and interact with materials by layering paint and paper, scratching, sanding and marking, creating open spaces, altering and adjusting. I move between intuition and logic, chaos and order. Being aware and open, taking risks with the materials — as well as the struggle itself — allows me to have a more-meaningful painting experience and often leads to a greater self-awareness. My goal is to create work that is authentic and genuine.

When did you start making art?
I’ve always been a creative person. I studied acting in college and traveled as a circus clown with Ringling Brothers for several years. I had always wanted to learn how to quilt, so I took a class. I began by making traditional quilts and then started experimenting with art quilts. About 15 years ago, I took an art class, thinking I could be a better quilter. I never picked up a needle and thread again. From painting to drawing to collage, I have had many wonderful and supportive teachers in my life.

Artists find inspiration from unusual sources. Tell us about what sparks your creativity.
I see art everywhere. The color of red clay, cracks in a sidewalk or a piece of trash are beautiful to me. Inspired by a recent visit to Bernheim Forest, I developed a series of collages with a botanical theme. I am drawn to lines. I love twisted branches. With discarded books as grounds, I collaged black and white photos of flowers and plants along with other found and prepared papers, pen and paint.

What are you working on now? Do you have an exhibition coming up in the near future?
I am presently in Los Angeles in workshop. I come here every summer to paint with artists I’ve known for many years. We studied under the same teacher, and, when he passed four years ago, we decided to continue to work together. It’s a place to experiment, go wild with all kinds of materials and get feedback. I work every day for the galleries that represent me. I am thrilled to be represented by three fabulous galleries. In addition to B. Deemer in Louisville, my work can be seen at New Editions in Lexington and View Gallery in Jackson, Mississippi. I am scheduled for a group show later this year.

What is something that most people do not know about you?
I love disco. Woot! Woot!


by Jo Anne Triplett for LEO Weekly

VIEW GALLERY gains new view in Canton Mart Square

VIEW GALLERY recently had the honor to be featured in the Clarion Ledger, below is the artical written by Nell Luter Floyd. Photograph by Joe Ellis Photography.


"The gallery moved in July from The Township in Ridgeland to 1491 Canton Mart Square, Suite 7. It is located between the Book Rack, a longtime business in Canton Mart Square, and Drake’s Designs Florist & Gifts.

A black awning sports the name VIEW GALLERY and oversized black-and-white prints of horses by Alabama photographer Arden Ward Upton hang in the two front windows, inviting a closer look.

The gallery features works by about 20 artists, mostly Southern artists. Many are regional, and there are also several local artists in the mix.

Whit Geary of Madison, gallery owner, said she considered a location at Canton Mart Square when she established the gallery in April 2009 but the Township location won out because it was more practical at the time.

“This wasn’t the right place for when I opened the gallery,” she said. “I had four children in Madison schools, and I needed to be close to where they were. My last child is now a junior in high school, and this is the right spot.”

Geary decided a move to Canton Mart Square would invigorate the business, help attract new clients who might not drive to Ridgeland and make it more accessible to Jackson residents. Another plus, she said, is that the location is next to Drake’s Designs, which is owned by her oldest friend, Anne Turner Williams, and Williams’ husband, Mike.

A graduate of the University of Mississippi who obtained a degree in elementary education and taught school for five years before her children were born, Geary entered the art market through the world of interior design. She has no formal interior design education but is blessed with an innate sense of color, she said.

With a toddler on one hip and a baby on the other, Geary launched her interior design business in 1993. “I charged a small amount to help friends pick out paint colors and arrange furniture,” she said.

Looking back, Geary said she found a sense of peace — “it always made me rest inside” — when a space was put together in a visual way that worked. Adding artwork, she discovered, made a space sing.

Geary eventually joined SummerHouse in Ridgeland as a designer and representative of several artists. She opened VIEW GALLERY within sight of SummerHouse and still considers owner and principal designer Lisa Palmer a good friend.

“The bulk of my business is people who love their houses and want beautiful houses,” Geary said. “Some clients don’t know much about art but just want something pretty and want it to look right and feel good in their homes. Art is such a communication of one’s personality and an extension of who you are.”

Many of Geary’s clients are drawn to the abstract designs and color palette of Sophia, an artist who uses just her first name and signs it with Greek letters, while others like the impressionistic works of Emily Ozier of Germantown, Tennessee, who signs her work in all caps as EMYO.

Lee Malouf of Ridgeland also has a following for her pastel abstracts as does Cissy Primos Prewitt of Madison for her mixed media works, Geary said.

The gallery includes works by emerging artists that sell for “several hundred dollars” as well as works by artists with established careers that sell for “several thousand dollars,” she said.

Geary said her journey to becoming a gallery owner slowly unfolded, and she’s pleased with the new location, the artists she represents and the business she has built. “I wasn’t looking for any of this,” she said.

VIEW GALLERY is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and by appointment. For more information, call (601) 487-6477 or (601) 278-3991.

Geary said she plans to expand the gallery’s hours when Crazy Cat Bakers opens just across the parking lot in Canton Mart Square."