Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Scrap it

Grand ideas or themes for exhibitions have the promise to present new ideas by providing an element of freedom to the artists. ArtWorks Paper Chasers seems to attempt to do just this. But just as KHAC’s Fire last month, the downtown gallery is currently exhibiting works that share a single oversized idea that lacks solid curatorial parameters. Certainly, there were some pieces that seem to focus on paper, such as Lauren Clay’s cut paper capsules and Stacza Lipinsky’s cascading paper cuttings welcoming us into the gallery space. Yet there were others like Liz Kauffman’s series of self-portraits I especially enjoyed, though have no idea why they are included in this show other than they are drawings on paper. Then there is the mixed media piece by Ryan Mulligan that begs to be read as something more than a paper chase.

While I think it is important to have such shows that provide a certain creative freedom, with this comes the responsibility of the curator. Without clearly defined exhibition parameters that celebrate the artists’ creativity, interesting works like those by Kauffman or smartly comical installations like Mulligan’s risk being diluted to merely paper objects that fill the space.

2 comments:

Anne said...

Thanks!!!

Maybe gallery themes are like ideas for stories. Someone once said something to the extent of "Ask me to write about a man who meets a woman, and I won't know what to do. Ask me to write about a man wearing a cowboy hat who bumps shoulders with a tall woman in a green dress while ordering an appletini, and I can write forever."

I agree that "paper" is a bit broad. Maybe "paper handmade from a piece of fabric you found in your house while looking for your missing sock" or even "rock, paper, scissors" might work better!

Kathy said...

Now I'm going to spend the day thinking about a man with a cowboy hat and a woman in a green dress.

You've made my point, thanks Anne.