Artist pieces together works for mosaic exhibit

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Somerville (Mass.) Museum selected works by Walla Walla artist Margaret Ryan for an all-mosaic exhibition there Sept. 10-Oct. 31. The exhibit includes examples of fine art pieces and decorative and functional art objects.

Ryan said Somerville, adjacent to Boston, is an artist-friendly city with its open studios, art festivals and active arts council. Artists are provided with chances to create, exhibit, educate and collaborate as an art community at Somerville Museum.

It's a unique opportunity for mosaic artists to share their art with the public and to see each other's styles, she said.

"Mosaic is one of the oldest and enduring art forms. It is alive with innovation today as it was millennia ago. Mosaic artists push the medium in new directions manipulating traditional and modern materials to make statements that engage, provoke, delight the eye, the mind and the sense of touch," Ryan said.

She began creating mosaics six years ago after retiring from public school teaching. She grew up in Seattle, where she was introduced to mosaics at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church on Capitol Hill.

She and husband Lawrence Paolella moved to Walla Walla in fall 2007 and spend time between here and the Boston area. Margaret has created mosaics on the themes of breast cancer, sacred women, the Chakra energy system and the female torso.

Since moving to Walla Walla, she has begun to make "abstract landscape" mosaics that incorporate semi-precious stones, beads, found objects and crystals.

She has participated in group and solo exhibits around Boston, and images of her breast mosaics were used to promote a health fair sponsored by the YWCA and Gilda House of Seattle recently.

For more details, see www.somervillemuseum.org, and for a full description of the exhibit and supporting events such as lectures, films, mosaic demonstrations and master classes, see www.mosaicsnewengland.com .

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