I call myself a “Master of Imperfection” eternally inspired by the uniqueness of error and what we alter and create as a result. My creations deliver underlying messages of rebirth, recovery and reclamation through an array of salvaged, recycled and ordinary materials that I employ in my work . My intrigue with the “beauty of imperfection” has led me, to work on behalf of at-risk populations locally and nationally; fostering the belief that integrating failures, accepting limitations and embracing differences is the means to living in harmony with the real world and the one we have the power to create
Gerry Florida never thought of herself as an artist until adversity forced the realization that recovery demanded a continual ability to recreate herself. She expanded her artistic definition to include everything she could imagine, think and creatively do to move toward recovery minimizing the common perception that having the ability to draw solely defines an artist. She saw her recovery as the medium of her work that required constant self-revision with consideration to what she was willing to compromise in order to successfully create her reinvention.
Her compulsion to question everything and alter anything fueled a need to simply “make-things-up” as needed. Formal education confined her thinking presenting a network of boundaries which she did not want to learn. In confessing ignorance, she realized the many advantages of ‘not knowing any better’ as she pursued unchartered territory in her journey through personal revival. That same ignorance became an educational process allowing Gerry to try things otherwise scripted by protocol and which she purposely remained oblivious to… compelling her to create her own methods, logic and processes to survive any given arena.
Her studio is her lab where she experiments with methods inspired by the excitement of discovery and failure. She thrives on little direction, spontaneity, and mistakes. Her work is a ‘live happening’ of endless bloopers, masterfully redirected with each movement of untamed wire that is never backtracked, never undone and never given a second chance to correct itself; it is her continual artistic challenge to integrate failures and make them beautiful in the finish piece. Free-form wirework demands impromptu solutions in order to harmonize each next move with the last…which paralleled the unpredictability of her recovery and her ability to remain standing through each challenge. Gerry continually teases herself coloring outside the defined lines of our expected culture and now creates some of the boxes that everyone thinks out of. Through her work as an artist and social justice advocate for Allegheny County’s at-risk populations to include Shuman Juvenile Detention Center, she teaches other her methods. Her belief in human imagination recognizes everyone as an artist able to ignite their own special niche. Understanding creativity as a lifestyle broadens possibilities and offers clearance to do things that can be imagined beyond the conditioning that teaches it should not or cannot. Gerry understands that given that freedom, we have choice to live inside a box and learn to think outside of it …or live on the outside and create the boxes that everyone else thinks out of. Either way, the choice offers myriad opportunities to learn about ourselves and free innate abilities otherwise too guarded to embrace for fear of falling out of the grace of social norms. Her ultimate homage goes to all those faceless artists who go about their lives unwittingly “creating solutions” to the many daily challenges. When lucky enough to encounter an individual with an undiscovered talent, especially when she can look at what they “made-up”, in envy she utters silently “Damn why didn’t I think of that first!”