Friday, February 4, 2011

Are Spiders Deaf?

I think they must be or else the first time one sets off the fire alarm, it would realize that the neighborhood is a bit too loud and move on to another residence. But no…..the little bugger in question decided to do it again and again and again….. long story short, knowing one’s correct deactivation code is priceless, using the former deactivation code (now the “OMG we are begin held hostage by armed gunmen code”)…SWAT (not) so much.  And in case you are wondering, the firemen who really show up at your door are not as cute as the ones in the freebie bar calendars.  If I could draw this story out in a small booklet and add it to the current exhibit at Anderson Creative, I would do so, but I am sure the recent Ice-Ageddon that is Stark County will provide enough interesting images to fill the participation project in HOME: Ruminations on Place(ment) opening tonight and on view through Feb. 26th.

Erin Sweeney of New Hampshire and Bobby Rosenstock of Marietta, Ohio have teamed up to create one of the most  delightful and interactive exhibits to date at Anderson Creative. These two artists are former grad school teammates (Canton being a sports town may appreciate that word more than collaborators, contemporaries or cohorts) who share a light-hearted point of view, an appreciation for the traditions of hand labor, and an expansive knowledge of their craft. 

The first thing a viewer will encounter is a large banner spanning the width of the gallery that includes the artists’ statement and curator comments. No more having to peer over the shoulders of other patrons or wait in line to get close enough to read. I offer a Wile-E Coyote award to Craig Joseph for that one. Next is a display of the tools needed to create some of the woodblock prints and screen prints used to make the pieces in the show.  An assortment of business cards, postcards and flyers are here as well providing pocket sized snippets of their work for the taking.  Too bad the kids are back in school because this show is perfect for some art education with the munchkins. It is truly an exhibit based on storytelling as it explores ways to define the meaning of “home”.  Hence the booklets available on a table complete with drawing tools for either coloring (right brain books) or writing (left brain books) or perhaps you wish to do both, adding them to a house shaped structure midway along the wall. Your contribution can be returned at the conclusion of the show if you so wish by filling out one of the envelopes provided. Several of us took some home to be returned later (homework so to speak). Warning, mine may contain one dead spider!

Because I am such an advocate of how children can and should appreciate art exhibits, rather than going on about the extraordinary skills these artists exhibit in their respective techniques of wood cut prints, letter set printing press, bookmaking, screen prints, needlework and so on, let us instead go on treasure hunt. This exhibit is set up perfectly to excite the imaginations of young people while entertaining the adults with its obvious humor. Nobody likes that aspect more than me because I would so pick up that cupcake (now you have to go see the show to have any idea what I am talking about!) unless if it fell on that spider in which case I would subject him to death by butter cream. Okay, back to the show. If you remember the game of Where’s Waldo, then use that as an incentive to find dental charts, crazy cats, funky doodles and fanciful machines. How many floors in the house? How many different modes of transportation? How many pieces in the show contain the same pattern (a result of the screen print process)? How many different textural surfaces contain the same printed pattern? What is the meaning of the words and how many different styles (or fonts) of letters can you find in one printed message? Why do you think some are lighter than others? Do you think the machine depicted would really work? Such are the types of leading questions I used to ask when teaching at the Cleveland Museum (and in the process of de-hoarding, I found some photos somebody took of “Miss Judi” in the Armor Court…nothing like being surrounded by small children and lots of sharp objects). I was most taken by Ms. Sweeney’s large sculptural figures. They are life-sized recreations of a child’s view of an adult. You see, children tend to draw adults with long arms, long legs, a big head and very little body. Why? Because kids are short and when an adult leans over to speak to them (which we often do), the torso disappears and a child will see a big head, long arms and long legs which appear to come right out of our shoulders due to perspective.

As my husband pointed out, the show is well laid out, very integrated and “just enough”. Then he proceeded to shrink it by one piece as we purchased a woodblock print by Bobby Rosenstock.  I highly recommend that this show be on your First Friday list tonight and then go back and see it when there are less bodies in the room so you can truly enjoy the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of these two talented young artists. Where else in town can you see a show that uses obsolete techniques, impractical labor and can make you laugh?  Oh wait a minute……I guess using a snow shovel on 2 inches of ice would be the equivalent.

No comments:

Post a Comment