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 Margaret (Margo) Gohmann Spoerri  (1931 - )

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Lived/Active: New York/Indiana      Known for: American landscapes, dream landscapes

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Margo Gohmann Spoerri
An example of work by Margaret (Margo) Gohmann Spoerri
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:

The following, submitted November, 2005, is from the artist.

As a child running free in nature, along the banks of the Ohio River, Margo Spoerri developed a keen sensibility for the beauties of the American landscape.  At the age of eight, she was fortunate to have studied art briefly with a master landscape painter, James L. Russell, who happened to be her great uncle.  He was also a member of the famed “Wonderland Way” ( a school of painters endemic to that part of the world). They were plein-air painters of landscape, and this early influence has permeated her work ever since.  

Having been greatly encouraged in art by her teachers, Spoerri was enabled to have scholarships to a number of art schools and colleges along the way, chiefly in the Midwest.  However, during her junior year in college at Indiana University, she was awarded a scholarship to an East Coast school, The Skowhegan School in Maine. There she met the noted Isabel Bishop, recipient of the Outstanding Achievement in Arts Award, given by the White House during the Carter administration, in 1979.  She was something of a mentor to Spoerri in the uncharted waters of female recognition in the American art-world of the times.                          

After graduation from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Arts, with honors and a membership in Phi Beta Kappa, Spoerri moved to New York and was awarded a Mac Dowell Colony Fellowship.  It was here that she expanded into a greater world of art, and was friendly with most of the recognized Abstract Expressionist artists of the 50s.  This was a thriving and adventurous time for art.  But it was also a very difficult time to continue to thrive as a woman artist.

To add to these complications, Spoerri became a wife and mother, was divorced and faced some difficult challenges. Her painting became more introspective, dealing with landscapes of an imaginary world fraught with mythological overtones.  This work was highly influenced by the fact that she had become a psychoanalyst and in so doing gave great attention to the studying of the human brain, the creative process and the meaning of myth and dream.  She had a private practice in New York City working with people in the arts, from 1972 to 1994.  In 1983 Spoerri had a solo exhibition at the Headly-Whitney Museum in Lexington, Kentucky, with a group of 50 paintings entitled Islands in the Stream of Consciousness.

Although she still escapes into these imaginary realms, she chooses not to show these works, presently.  Perhaps they are too personal.  However, in some odd way, they feed into the other work she does, that is the work she is chiefly known for nowadays.  In 1987, she gave into her longing to get back to nature, by leaving the city to move 100 miles upstate.  This was followed by a number of exhibitions, among them public spaces in New York City including the New York Atrium and “The Orchid in Art” at the World Financial Center where she was awarded the Grand Prize for Show in 1995, as well as in various galleries and art-centers throughout New York state and the Midwest.  
      
Spoerri has what might be thought of as a spiritual connection with her work, which has helped her prevail through a serious visual handicap. This was sustained in 1995 when she developed macular degeneration, which at first seemed like an insurmountable stumbling block.  Through persistence, she has found ways of working despite the handicap.  She believes, and others agree, that this condition has not had a deleterious affect on her work.  She might ruefully add, that as a legally blind artist, she is in excellent company with the likes of Monet, Gaughin and Georgia O’Keefe, to name but a few. 

Spoerri currently resides in Narrowsburg, New York, a tiny hamlet on the Delaware River.  Here, the landscape bears a close resemblance to the river valley where she grew up.  Narrowsburg is noted by the presence of the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance (DVAA) and of The River Reporter, an award-winning local newspaper that named her the Best Local Artist in 2000.  She continues to work actively and has had a number of shows in the last ten years, the most recent being in July 2005. 

COLLECTIONS:
Indiana University Alumnae Collection, Bloomington, IN; Catherine Spaulding College, Louisville, KY; Headly-Whitney Museum, Lexington, KY; New York Academy of Sciences, New York, NY

AWARDS:
Skowhegan Fellowship, Skowhegan School of Art; MacDowell Colony Fellowship; Grand Prize for Show "Orchid in Art" World Financial Center, New York, NY

SOLO EXHIBITIONS:
Catskill Arts Society Museum, Hurleyville, NY, 1999; Public Space, New York, NY, 1995; Headly-Whitney Museum, Lexington, KY, 1983;

GROUP EXHIBITIONS:
Delaware Valley Arts Center Gallery, Narrowsburg, NY, 1999; Philadelphia Museum Picture Gallery, Philadelphia, PA, 1995-1998; World Financial Center, New York, NY, 1995; Salmagundi Club, New York, NY, 1995; "Private Spaces", DVAA, Narrowsburg, NY, 1991; "Landscapes of the Inner Mind", DVAA, Narrowsburg, NY, 1989; Indiana University Museum of Art, Bloomington, IN, 1983

*Spoerri has also shown in over 20 solo gallery and 15 group gallery shows.

ASSOCIATIONS:
 Delaware Valley Arts Alliance (DVAA), Narrowsburg, NY

 

 


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