Couple’s galleries incorporate nature into pieces

Lane Riggs

Sherry Giryotas, painter, and Phillip Shore, sculpturist, speaking at their exhibition on Feb. 3. Photo by Timothy Jones

The opening reception held at the Wichita Falls Museum of Art on Feb. 3 at 6-8 p.m. featured the works of Sherry Giryotas and Phillip Shore, whose work looks to focus on the natural world. As her paintings looked at observations of the environment, his sculptures tried to describe the relationship between man and nature.

Giryotas’ gallery, Unraveling the Migrants, looks at her observations of the natural world based on her experience of living in different cultures. Each piece records her travels through the landscapes reimagined in her painting. While Giryotas’ pieces incorporate the colors around her, Shore incorporates into his pieces copper, wood, and bees or leaves.

“It’s part of the overarching concept of my work. Trees have lives, too. I make sure everything I use in my sculptures have a relation to each other, so for example, a hand is equal to a wing,” Shore said. “The theme is open, but everything stems from a central theme.”

His pieces are both short and tall, and the usage of copper and wood help to further assimilate the sculptures with trees.

“Walking through the gallery is like walking through a man-made forest,” Kevin Anderson, biology junior, said. “Everything is perfectly sculpted. It’s beautiful. There’s copper in everything, and it’s interesting that Shore tried to mesh metal and wood together.”

Giryotas’ paintings, Anderson said, reminded him of the heavens parting. 

“Everything in the gallery caught my attention, her pieces are angelic,” he said.

Anderson also liked Shore’s gallery, A Soliloquy on Oneness, because it explores the relationship humans have to the natural world.

Juan Pram, graphic design freshman, liked both galleries as well.

“I came here to see the artwork tonight because I was kind of curious. I’ve been to a few galleries but I think this one was more open, more roomy,” he said. “It was nice to get a chance to see the art, experience it like the artists hope we do.”

Shore said that while he doesn’t expect someone to understand his sculptures, he does hope that museum-goers will at least reflect on their experiences.

“We’re one with a system, it’s very cyclical. We are all one, and I hope to show the impact that nature has on us, and how we can damage the environment,” he said. “My work isn’t preachy, but I am trying to quietly bring awareness to the environment. It’s fabulous when someone is made aware of their relationship to nature.”

While Shore looks at the relationship between nature and man, Giryotas looks at the travels that each person goes on as they become aware of this relationship.

“My work is informed and influenced by my observations of the natural world and having lived on a variety of continents amid different cultures,” she said. “The paintings are a celebration of life. I’m still migrating constantly, and through my paintings, I commemorate that. I put my own language onto the landscape.”

Giryotas’ foundation for her work comes from everything around her, like the movement of water and the vines of plants.

“Within my work I connect disparate elements, and, in the same vein, I use cast elements of the human form, hands and feet, atop vessels containing elements from nature to express the interconnected relationship of humans and the environment,” she said. “This work emerges from a personal exploration, an exploration seeking my place in this natural system.”

Though the galleries were planned three years ago, only 50 people were in attendance.

“I don’t think I would have come if my professor hadn’t encouraged it,” Pram said. “I don’t hear anything about the museum, they just don’t advertise that much.”