Portfolio > Deep Play Show/ 2009/ Woolen Mill Gallery

The paintings and collections of Mary Dickey were featured in this exhibit at the Woolen Mill Gallery in Reedsburg, Wisconsin.

The interplay between fine art and curiosities is explored further in this show as
both the original paintings and the collections of dollhouses and Mexican folk art
come from the artist. Ms Dickey’s collections are not simply things made by
others and selected with an artist’s eye but are altered and embellished and
serve as inspiration for her paintings.

An avid traveler, Ms Dickey has an extensive collection of Mexican folk art
including hand made crèche figures and brightly painted wood carvings. Her
dollhouse collection spans several eras and styles from cardboard to handmade
to the tin lithographed houses she played with as a child.

The show’s title is borrowed from Diane Ackerman’s book Deep Play in which
the author talks about the artistic process – “…activities which engender a
transcendent state of being in which ‘time is swallowed,’ we lose ourselves and
enter a space in which we feel a profound sense of spirituality, excitation and
emotional intensity.” Ms. Dickey adds: “collecting beautiful and interesting
things, arranging them and being inspired by them in my artwork, can create this
‘bridge to wonder’ or sense of ‘deep play.’ It is an emotional state I wish to
belong in as much as possible. It is life at its most harmonious, satisfying and

Through these collections and the paintings that interact with them we see how
things carry meaning and are swept up into our personal narratives.

Donna Neuwirth/ Curator/ Woolen Mill Gallery