God Is In the Glyph: The Art of Rory McArthur

Exhibition: God Is In the Glyph: The Art of Rory MacArthur
Dates of Loan: August 29, 2023 - October 16, 2023
Location: The Speer Gallery at the Shipley School, 814 Yarrow Street, Bryn Mawr PA 19010

The Speer Gallery
welcomes renowned artist Rory MacArthur and his fascinating journey into the world of glyphs and abstraction in an exhibition on loan from the West Collection. In an age where symbols are ubiquitous, from traffic signs to digital fonts, MacArthur creates mesmerizing glyph-like objects through a fusion of color, shape, surface, and form.

MacArthur honed his skills in a basement studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn, where he spent twelve hours a day perfecting his brightly colored, hand-crafted, organic shapes. His art, often likened to the works of abstract masters like Ellsworth Kelly and Joseph Stella, distinguishes itself by delving into a more spiritual, synesthetic realm.

He transitioned from traditional canvas painting to a self-invented process involving carving, sanding, and sealing layers of Styrofoam and aqua resin. This innovative approach, allowed him to breathe life into vibrant, fine-tuned, 3-D objects, creating kaleidoscopic effects that challenge the observer's perception.  His decision to move away from conventional painting was driven by his desire to break free from the traditional canvas's illusionistic space. Instead, he sought to create experiences that make both the artist and the viewer conscious of their visual presence before an object. 

In 2018, a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis led to his relocation to Scotland and a moment of uncertainty, but MacArthur's faith in his art and the intervention of the West Collection, which saved his work, kept his artistic project resilient.  He remembers after months spent in a hospital bed. “I called the West Collection, and they said, ‘We’re taking it,’ and that’s how [they] saved 198 artworks and all my sketchbooks. It was amazing.”

In summary, Rory MacArthur's artistic journey embodies many of the core values and aspirations of Shipley School. His dedication to curiosity, creativity, resilience, and meaningful communication through art serves as an inspirational example for Shipley students as they embark on their own educational journeys, ultimately shaping them into compassionate, independent thinkers ready to make a positive impact on the world.

Lender: The West Collection
Address: The West Collection at SEI 1 Freedom Valley Dr, Oaks, PA 19460          
Phone: 610-883-7368, Contact: Lee Stoetzel
The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.