By: Carrie Heath, May 3, 2024

The Gmeiner Art & Cultural Center is thrilled to announce a new Main Gallery exhibit for May “Surreal Spaces” paintings by Anna Lee Hafer. This is Anna Lee’s first exhibit at the Gmeiner, and we are thrilled to introduce her to a new audience. This exhibit open with a free reception for the public on Saturday, May 11th from 2-4PM and will remain on display until Sunday, June 2nd

Anna Lee Hafer is originally from Williamsport, but currently works from a studio in Wayne, PA. She graduated from Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, NY in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Fine Art. She relocated to the Philadelphia area to pursue a graduate degree at Temple University and career in studio art. Anna Lee has exhibited at the Finger Lakes Art Series, the Macfadden Gallery, NY, at Lycoming Arts in Williamsport, PA, the Rochester Contemporary Art Center, the Davison Art Gallery, NY, Still Point Arts Quarterly Mixing Mediums Show, the Rush Law Group in PA, and Roberts Wesleyan College, NY. Anna Lee has also received a Standard of Excellence Award from the New York State Art Teachers’ Association.

Her work is heavily influenced by such famous surrealist painters as René Magritte, Salvador Dali, and Pablo Picasso, all of whom strove to build their own realities through small glimpses into a particularly confusing, but utterly unique worldview that dictates its own specific set of instructions. With references to the laws and physics of Alice’s Wonderland, the artist challenges the audience’s inherent understanding of perspective, reality, and universal order.

In her work, Hafer pours and layers paint to create dimension and texture, mixing different styles and colors onto each other until they produce a 3D effect. Through marker and pencil that create shadow, she further enhances these forms and separates them from the background. Heavier layers and thicker brushstrokes in the foreground of her work push the painting toward the viewer, whereas the thinner layers and small brushstrokes in the background, elongate the space and push away from the viewer. By juxtaposing interior and exterior elements, Hafer makes the audience question whether they are looking at something inside or outside. 

On the last day of the exhibit, June 2nd at 4PM, Anna Lee and her mother, the poet Marjorie Maddox, will give a presentation on Marjorie’s collection of ekphrastic poetry “In the Museum of My Daughter’s Mind.” This book is based on the experiences of the mother-daughter duo on a rainy-day excursion to the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, where, as never before, they realized how their passions for art and poetry intersect. Anna Lee’s artwork is featured in the book, which will be available for purchase at the Gmeiner throughout the exhibit.

The Gmeiner is open from 12-6PM Tuesdays through Sundays and is located at 134 Main Street in Wellsboro behind the Green Free Library. Admission to the gallery is free.