Artist Mary Crane Nutter, a painter from Walla Walla, Washington, will have a solo exhibition named Liminal, to open on Thursday July 6, 2023 from 6-8pm at Strauss Studios in Canton and will be open to the general public on First Friday, July 7 from 6-9pm. Ms. Crane Nutter paints on panels, in a geometric style with bold color blocking and layered abstraction. The title of the collection, “Liminal”,suggests a transitory state of consciousness that Crane Nutter finds helpful to describe her place as a painter in search of a personal imprint as well as a stylistic place occupying a position between her more expressionistic beginnings and her playful patterning that is the hallmark of the current work. Strauss Studios continues to introduce new artists to Northeast Ohio with this exhibit.


Crane Nutter lives in Walla Walla where her studio is located at her home/small farm with a traditional wood barn. Several years ago, she partnered with her Sister, Sarah Crane, a graphic designer and photographer to create a neighborhood art and performance experience for the local community at the farm. In creating that experience, she began to make color blocked paintings on panels that were inspired by Pennsylvania Dutch barn star artwork, which she called “quilts”. Her large scale panels were mounted on her barn for the art festival. The experience changed her style and approach to painting. “If it had not been for that experience, I would not be making the paintings I am making today”, she explained. Her work on the barn was published in a magazine called “Mary Jane’s Farm” in December, 2017. She continued, “It is here in Walla Walla, while immersed in quiet country living… that my mind travelled back to fond memories of my late Grandmother Doris and the many hours I spent as a child watching her create beautiful quilts.” 


Crane Nutter, who was raised on a farm in South-Eastern Idaho, could not wait to get to the big city of Seattle for her art school education at the Seattle Art Institute in 2003. The sugar beets and potatoes she left behind were traded in for experiences gazing at Frank Stella, Paul Klee and Edward Hopper paintings. Her education launched her on the path to become a painter. She feels that despite her love of being a mother to two daughters and a wife to her partner Marcus, her “real” self is being expressed when she is painting. “The work is a refuge of myself, with dreams and aspirations and drive and need to express myself.”


Mary worked as an interior designer in Seattle and was especially drawn to textiles. Her work plays with dimensional illusion by adding textures, and depth is created. She incorporates sanding elements and uses acrylic mediums to build up literal texture. The grid is always a foundational basis for the compositions. The warp and the woof make their presence known consistently in this way. 


Crane Nutter will be present for the opening on July 6th and is looking forward to seeing local Ohio viewers’ reactions to her works. Liminal will be on display through August 18.  Strauss Studios continues to exhibit artists from around the Country with highlights on Northeast Ohio. The Upstairs Gallery is located in the Strauss Studios furniture building in downtown Canton. Recent exhibits featured Paris, France based artist Matthew Rose and Hudson, Ohio based artist Katrina Polhamus.