PYRO Gallery Presents: Altered Reality

Altered Reality

Kay Grubola and Bette Levy

October 1 - November 6th
Opening Reception: October 1 6-9
First Friday Trolley Hop - October 1 and November 6th from 6-9



The perception of reality is always in flux. Individually we embrace different realities all the time. Our interpretation of the world is influenced by many things; religion, science, ethnicity and culture. We seek deeper understanding of life in science and also create mythologies that support our beliefs or calm our fears. Scientific advancements have enabled us to see a single cell through a microscope but we also cling to ancient rituals and beliefs. Artists often choose to manipulate and alter reality in their work. Scale in particular, accentuates different attributes and presents the viewer with different realities. Kay Grubola and Bette Levy both incorporate mediums extracted from nature for their work but by variations in perspective and scale create contrasting or altered realities.


Kay Grubola is exploring feminism through the traditions of Celtic mythology using the natural materials that have dominated her earlier work. The cyclic pattern of nature was the basis for the mythology of the Celtic Goddesses. The Goddesses were closely associated with the land and the people populating the isles. For the Celts the source of life and the land was so integrally associated with women, it would seem to follow that all origins of life were distinctly female. Their link to the seasonal cycles, to power, fertility and death, may partly account for the fact that a single goddess often takes three forms, or aspects – usually maiden, mother and crone and often a transformative animal manifestation. At times of joy or moments of pain, humans would turn to the Goddess who was honored in her many guises. The Goddesses’ powers as warriors, as magical beings, as symbols of fertility, as lovers and mothers are intrinsic to the feminist message of the work.

Grubola’s most recent pieces focus on the adornment of the Goddesses using the natural materials closely associated with their domain. These pieces, defined as jewelry (although too fragile for anyone other than a Goddess to wear) have a fetish quality about them created by scale and natural materials. The construction of the pieces defies what we know about the natural objects and creates a new hybrid of a different and mythical reality.

Bette Levy’s traditional work is small scale, vividly-colored, hand embroidery on black grounds. Recently, she has worked with an array of textile techniques, including crochet on rusted farm tools, rust- and walnut ink-dyeing and burning of fabric, and faux-calligraphy appliqué,. In this exhibition, Levy shifts scale, medium, and focus. Working with pig intestine stretched over bamboo armatures, Levy is investigating a theme familiar in her earlier embroidered work, that of unicellular and primitive life forms. In this case, however, the size and vitality of these sculptural installations is larger than life, emphasizing the importance these simple organisms hold in our own lives. Concepts of evolution, both individual- and species-wide, and birth and end-of-life issues, feature large.


Levy chose to work with pig gut because of its tactility when manipulating and stretching it into three-dimensional shapes. Also appealing is the delicate organic appearance of the mottled surface. Furthermore, gut is unpredictable - because the material shrinks upon drying, the final shapes are often quite different than when originally formed. Other materials such as bamboo, horsehair, thread, and seeds were also used to bind, embellish, and shape the forms.


PYRO Gallery is open 12 PM to 6 PM on Thursdays thru Saturday, or by appointment. The gallery is open late during artist receptions and First Friday Hops. Admission to PYRO Gallery is FREE and open to the pubic.

PYRO is an artist owned and operated gallery with 20 current members.  Working in many different styles and media, a diverse group of professional artist members guarantees a lively assortment of work to visitors and collectors.



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Facebook: The art embroidery of Bette Levy