Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Blind Date (round two) at Anderson Creative Gallery

If one thinks they can breeze through the current exhibit at Anderson Creative Gallery, then one, think again and two, consider bringing along your own chair. Back by popular demand, this highly successful collaboration between visual artists and writers has once again redefined the genre (if there is one…) of pairing creative people together to reach a common goal.  That goal would be to answer the following questions, “Can I bring your images to life with my words and can you make my words lift off the page with your imagery?”   For the most part, everybody got an A+ on their assignment. A few B’s here and there and even one C but those grades are from the biased opinion of a visual artist (who in full disclosure once again, is part of the show.)

As curator Craig Joseph will testify to, I did spend over an hour carefully noting the nuances of each pairing unless the text was really, really long (and there are a couple of entries that qualify for chapter status).  For the most part, the show is not a date spent hand in hand walking through the park. The majority of the pairings are darker with an emphasis on death, issues of self awareness and confrontation, and the problems surrounding communities of various sorts. Toss in a bit of religion and one will think we are quite angst ridden, however one must understand that creative people tend to use their gifts for expressive and therapeutic purposes and therefore are quite well adjusted, thank you very much. Thankfully Monty provided some comic relief during my visit with a little relieving of his own. Daddy’s response is destined for a painting. True to the nature of the show, reactions can be unexpected, so while reading, writing and connecting, I discovered quite a few gems worth noting, 6 pages to be exact, and something from every date. Because I was recently (and good-naturedly) chastised for writing far too much per paragraph, I shall merely make a cliff note version of the highlights.

Rose Hayne (art) and Ann Barber (text) – Look very carefully at Rose’s oil pastel collage as the elements are more than color and shape, they are also text the could follow Ann’s writing stanza by stanza. At first glance during the preview opening, I did dismiss it as just a landscape, for which I apologize and reiterate that one needs to spend the time really “looking”, not just “seeing” to fully appreciate  what each person had done to answer the opening question. 

Cassidhe Hart (text) and R.M. Huggett (art) – symbolic of some couples, one talks on and on and the other stands by in simplistic silence and they get along great. I adore his two paintings in this show as his humor is quick and direct (and he uses really long titles like me.)

Judi Krew (art) and Van Misheff (text) – His rhythmic writing style captured my message exactly. Very few have ever understood the watercolor in this show and he reached right inside and grabbed the essence of my imagery. 

Nancy Matin (art) and Van Misheff (text) – A second A+ entry and worth a bit longer of an examination. Nancy’s entry is from her new work in fibers. One needs to read the text, “House Warming” and then view the piece, repeating the process as nouns and adjectives connect. His steps are her layering of fabrics. His blues are her colors, his breeze is her slightly askew alignment, his old is her frayed edges and so forth.  

A similar approach is taken with David Dettmann’s text and Don Parsisson’s sculpture. There are correlations between Heaven and hell, black and white, positive and negative space, emerging and descending form and so forth, again, one would benefit from a repetition of reading and viewing. 

Sometimes the pairings are more than just what is produced, but also how they have been displayed. Claire M. Adam’s sculpture / collage/ creation is contained within a jar that is made even smaller by the 40” or so of text cascading down next to it. The “message in a bottle” concept to one who has died is quite powerful. Don’t walk by it without looking inside. Does our long life really get compressed into a few memories over the passage of time?

Other pairings that have similar media and message connections (as opposed to just imagery) are Lindsay Bonilla and Kyle Begue {I apologize for any misspellings of names, but I was still laughing about the impromptu performance art to focus on my handwriting….} with a missive on bad hair days. The “empty nest” is handled by Anne Wedlar and Judi Christy and the judgment of our souls versus who we “are” (do not judge a book by its cover as the saying goes) is tackled by Erin Sweeny and Jessica Bennett.  My notes about each pairing in the exhibit are much longer than what you are reading here. I had quite a mentally stimulating time putting all the puzzle pieces together one by one.  Some connections are subtle such as how Paul Digby’s grammatical breaks that are echoed in the broken teeth and negative spaces of R.M. Huggetts characters. 

My point is that you cannot just see how words are illustrated with art or how art inspires words. You have to look a bit deeper at presentation, materials, scale, and how the text is displayed with the works as far as scale as well. I regret that I cannot go on and on about some of the pairings (cant’ get too wordy) because I want to mention a couple of things before my space runs out.

I did enjoy seeing work by some artists I did not recognize, Matthew Litteken and Ines Kramer, who each had two works very similar in style (not to each other but as their own technique) that I suspect represented their overall body of work and of which I would like to see more. Submissions came from a national call although viewers will find many familiar artists and writers. On that note, I would have liked to have seen the city or state (our country) of origin for each pairing. Also, the original Blind Date show had an explanation posted as to what the premise was for this exhibition. Locals understand thanks to media coverage but our occasional tourist might benefit from some background info. Not being critical, just taking the viewpoint of someone who is not in the art biz (channeling my 75 year old Dad perhaps?) who might wander in and say “what the hell is that?” 

I would hope this exhibition becomes an annual event, or every two years perhaps as the popularity of Anderson Creative Gallery continues to increase and inspire with unusual offerings in the definition of what constitutes an “art show”. I am honored to have been given a date this year and found it a challenging experience to take someone else’s thoughts (Lilly) and be true to both their intent and my own style. 

Any thoughts to having a “speed dating” event where each random paring gets 30 minutes to connect?

1 comment:

  1. who were you paired with in the exhibit?