Exhibition: The 'Georgia O'Keeffe' of Cathedral Village

by Len Lear
Posted 12/14/23

Geri Greinke-Mack is 81 years old, but just like a modern-day Georgia O'Keeffe, she keeps getting better with age.

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Exhibition: The 'Georgia O'Keeffe' of Cathedral Village


Geri Greinke-Mack is 81 years old, but just like a modern-day Georgia O'Keeffe, she keeps getting better with age. So it should come as no surprise that if Greinke-Mack could meet anyone on earth, living or dead, it would be that artist. 

“I respect how she lived her life,” she once told the Local. “When I went to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in New Mexico, I was fascinated by her landscapes, and I liked her quotes about her work. What a wonderful conversation we could have had together.”

Greinke-Mack’s 56-year career has included teaching art to children for 38 years at St Peter’s School, a private institution in Society Hill, and being a visual artist in multiple media. Her work is on exhibit now through Dec. 31 at Cathedral Village in Upper Roxborough, where she lives. 

“Over the years, I have used various mediums – linocut, graphite pencils, pen and ink on vellum, oils on canvas and gouache on paper – to express my passion for illustrating detailed and imaginative children's stories, folklore and the beauty found in the natural world,” Greinke-Mack said. 

A graduate of Haddonfield High School in New Jersey, Greinke-Mack earned her BFA at the University of the Arts in 1964. But her creativity was apparent long before that. 

“When I was tucked in bed one night, I told my mom not to close the bedroom door because it was too dark,” she recounts. “With light coming into the room, I could see my beautiful wallpaper with white swans and flowers. I looked at one swan with the flowers. Soon I imagined myself flying and sitting on the swan. A blue, long stream appeared. We floated down the delightful stream. I fell asleep that way every night with my swan.”

After college, Greinke-Mack worked as a secretary for Dean George Gerbner in the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, until she married in March of 1965. That’s when she moved to Fayetteville, N.C., where her husband was serving in the Army. 

Later, when they returned to Philadelphia, they both found themselves at UPenn again – her husband enrolled in the Fine Arts Department, where he obtained his MFA, and she was in the Department of South Asia Regional Studies, where she found work as a secretary. 

“During my lunch hours,” she recalled, “I went up to the rooftop and brought with me art materials, such as a small metal box of watercolors and sepia ink. I painted pictures of the campus. In addition, I met Stella Kramrisch, a professor who was well known as a specialist in Indian art and Hinduism, and I loved Indian miniature paintings and Indian sculpture.”

Inspired also by Japanese paintings and the works of Henri Rousseau, Paul Klee, and Frida Kahlo, Greinke-Mack said her work is “about the wondrous things and beauty that I see in nature. 

“I love animals, people’s faces, flowers, trees and landscapes,” she said, adding that she uses cut linoleum to “express clearly defined, imaginative and well-composed prints for certain fairy tales and fables that I like.”

When she is not doing commissioned work, such as portraits, Greinke-Mack looks at her garden and floral book collection, as well as photographs she has taken of plants, trees and flowers, and starts to sketch a composition.

Greinke-Mack said her ultimate goal as an artist is to create artworks that graphically show people that it is our responsibility to take better care of the environment.

“For example, elephants are still being killed for their tusks, leaving their babies certain to die,” she said. “My ultimate goal is to make art that tells a story about saving all living things.”

Her work has been exhibited at numerous area galleries and museums such as Woodmere Art Museum, Sande Webster Gallery, The Print Club, Ursinus College’s museum, Gross McCleaf Gallery, Cats Paw Gallery, Hahn Gallery and Third Street Gallery, among others. 

“Geri’s love of nature, children and animals shows through her work,” said Cathedral Village spokesperson Eileen Nathanson. “She strives to bring joy, compassion and connection into our world through her art.” 

Baseball fans will probably find the name Greinke familiar. Geri's nephew, Zack Greinke, has been a Major League pitcher for 19 years and is currently a free agent. He was a six-time All-Star, twice led the National League in earned-run average with the Los Angeles Dodgers and once won the Cy Young Award in the American League, which is given to the best pitcher in the league.

For more information about her exhibit or portraits, email gerimackartist@aol.com, or visit cathedralvillage.com. Len Lear can be reached at lenlear@chestnuthilllocal.com