Thursday, December 8, 2016

Should Art Be Explained: Thoughts on "Home"

Best of Show
Nothing is a mistake. There is no win and no fail. There is only make. -John Cage

I have been thinking about "Home" at the ARC Gallery since attending the opening. There were had that I loved and pieces I just did not get.  I attended the opening with Barbara L. Wester and I am so thankful that I did. It was good to discuss the art with someone. And maybe I should not have been surprised (I was) that we both had the same opinions!

Neither of us got how the Best of Show related to "home." I know art is suppose to speak for itself. I also know that when I encounter a piece or an artist I want to know more-- thought process, life, etc. When the judges spoke about their process for selection and talked about some of the pieces of art, they did not talk about the Best of Show at all. My favorite part of the evening was listening to the artists talk about their work. Knowing that the painting of the playground by Anitra Frazier was inspired by a photograph her father took. The video "I Need a Hug" dealt with his parents divorcing. I wish the gallery had provided at least a binder filled with info on the artists and their statements about the work.

The jurors, Trevor Martin and Asha Veal Brisebois, did speak at the opening and a written statement from them was available. For them, it was important to include as many different mediums and points of view as possible.  They did not want to just have photographs or paintings. While Trevor was asked to be the juror, he wanted to provide a learning experience for a student so Asha became a juror. He said that he appreciated having someone to discuss the art with and that they did not always agree.

From the Jurors:

"Home may be defined in a variety of ways: as a place of residence, a place where one flourishes, a congenial or familiar setting, a place of origin, a family unit, even a finishing point in a race.

Home can also be a contested site, marked by monetary, physical, and emotional economies, family histories, and threats from both without and within.

So often, home is defined in relation to others, amid complex equations of community--how one is included, excluded, allowed to speak, be spoken for, how one is welcomed or not, and how power and agency flows through this social fabric. As jurors, these notions of community have been on our minds over a course of recent weeks. How can we, as cultural agents, define and redefine community?

Like-minded souls and communities are not defined by borders, colors, or even languages. This is something we always believed in, and now stand by even more boldly. We are proud that The Home Show represents so many artists, exemplifying the great society that we call home, and the fierce intelligence, creativity, and generosity of multicultural communities, and societal leaders through the arts.

The work of artists---as makers, as provocateurs, as critical thinkers--has felt so important all along and now feels even more urgent and expansive.

In our individual homes, families may have tow mothers, two fathers, or one of each. The neighbor next door is Black, Chinese, Columbian, or Irish American. Some neighbors visit other nations, and we are glad to know one another., occupying the same space, now as countrymen and also as friends.

Welcome to our home. Believe in and work toward this place."

Newbold Bohemia's piece was selected to publicize the exhibition. Newbold considers herself to be a "photographic artist." Both Barbara and I liked this piece. Both of us were bothered that the telephone did not appear to be plugged in. I guess for us the details matter.

I am familiar with Kathleen Eaton's work. She is a Chicago artist.  Her piece Twilight was displayed behind the gallery desk so it was next to impossible to see it up close and personal. This piece did not speak to me even though I am impressed by how well it is painted. I like her urban landscapes so much better. I encourage you to check them out.

Adrienne Der Marderosian's collages were quite interesting. The two pieces had the same images but one had more detail and the other was faint. They were only approximately 5" x 7" framed. Sorry I don't have a photograph but the lighting did not allow for a good photo.

One of my favorite pieces was a book, Faucet, by Sally Schluter Tardella. Unfortunately, only a small portion of the book could be seen and while there is a small photo of the book on her website there is no detail. I did peek at the other side and of course, it was the side that most interested me. It was full of writing and anyone reading my blog knows I love the written word on things. This piece has inspired me to try a codex book.

Barbara and I also both liked this painting of a bar scene. I feel terrible that I did not get the artist's name. It reminded me of a Edward Hopper's Nighthawk. 

Sara Allen Prigodich's piece, Wait, was tucked in a corner at the front of the gallery. It was nice to see a piece of ceramic art being included. I like that while it appears to be soft, it is actually hard.

If you are in or near Chicago, I encourage you to visit the gallery and see the show. I would love to hear your thoughts.  Once again I am reminded how subjective art is and that I am grateful that we are not all the same.

In my conversation with Asha, she asked me where I consider home after I shared that I had lived in a lot of different places. I did not have an immediate answer. I have concluded that home for me is family and not a place. Where do you consider home?

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