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Mary Gamble Barrett: Transcendence

September 9, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

No. 5 Butchie Alley

Behind - 1175 S 13th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147 United States


Mary Gamble Barrett’s paintings and ceramic tiles reach beyond the physical, parting the heavy curtains leading to the metaphysical world. Inspiration for the works comes from sacred geometry (found in mentor Bill Daley’s sculpture and in Byzantine Iconography) and in the magic of color and clay. The creation of these works was both meditative and cathartic for Barrett after the passing of her husband and best friend, Dominick Barrett, in 2021.

During preparation for this exhibition, she rediscovered her love of dualities: order/chaos, inside/outside, physical/metaphysical(spiritual) combining the chaotic swirls of color wash with the structure of symbolic geometry. Barrett returned to her graduate thesis studies and again to the work of sculptor Bill Daley. In a paper she wrote about his work in 2003, she recalled a sculpture that Daley had made for his grandson. Daley gave her a copy of the drawing during her visit with him in 2003.

“The cross in the square and the diamond that is created by connecting the vertical and horizontal axis repeat into what Daley calls “The infinity form”. This form is evident in many cultures and religions, including Byzantine Iconography, in which the diamond represents the dynamic form of heaven, and the square the static form of earth.”
– The Vessel as Place (The architectural work of William Daley) Mary Barrett Dec. 2003

Barrett is asking mystical and never-ending questions. Math is a meditative map to explore interior spaces of the heart and mind. Barrett’s visual explorations reflect the obvious symbolism of the circle, signifying eternity, with no beginning or end. On a deeper level, Barrett’s practice is a constant circling of returning, reordering and expanding on knowledge gained along the way as a perpetual student and teacher.

No. 5 Butchie Alley is thrilled to open the Fall season with Mary Gamble Barrett’s paintings and ceramic tiles. The works are pregnant with the palpable hours of intense searching and illumination. Each object reflects every season of emotion and the work it takes to get to the other side of hopefulness.

No. 5 Butchie Alley is located on the easement directly behind 1175 S 13th Street. You will find an entrance to the easement on Federal Street just before 13th. Look for the Isaiah Zagar Mural.


September 9, 2023
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm


No. 5 Butchie Alley
Behind - 1175 S 13th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147 United States
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