Jimpsie Ayres Learning to be Astonished
JIMPSIE AYRES, Cypress, 2020; Oil on panel; Courtesy of the artist.

Mallory and Wurtzburger Gallery

Jimpsie Ayres: Learning to be Astonished

Jan 10, 2021 - Apr 4, 2021

Memphis native Jimpsie Ayres provides a space for her audience to transcend their own experience and dwell in the realm of the beautiful. She takes solace in painting moments of quiet beauty in the natural world, from ripples on the surface of a lake to the spectrum of color found on a shaded lawn.

Learning to be Astonished is a collection of Ayres’s most recent work created during the COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing her title from a line in a poem by Mary Oliver, “Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work, which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished,” Ayres sought inspiration from her own neighborhood. When she was unable to travel to the picturesque countryside in Provence, Ayres took daily walks in Midtown Memphis. She photographed neighbors walking their dogs, patronizing farmer’s markets, and working in their gardens. These observations coalesced into the source material for much of the painting in Learning to be Astonished.

Ayres feels a kinship with the Impressionist painters, both for their commitment to chronicling the zeitgeist and their commitment to truth and beauty. Her sense of connection to these earlier artists is palpably represented in the paintings in this exhibition. Ayres’s tranquil Impressionistic landscapes are punctuated by her keen insight into daily life in 2020. Learning to be Astonished encompasses the ideal and the familiar, bridging the space between the aspirational and that which already exists.