RAW: Reassessment and Wonder (2022) - Jamestown Arts Center, Rhode Island
About the Exhibition:
Reassessment is a dynamic, multifaceted process; ignited by a need, it requires a reflection of the past, a new perspective on the present, and a desire to shift forward. Reassessment calls on the individual to authentically explore impact, search inward, and be vulnerable in exploring one’s psychological, physical, and environmental state. This mirrors the artist’s mindset. Motivated by curiosity, artists seek to identify vulnerabilities, push beyond doubt, take risks, examine the past, and be in direct conversation with the current climate. The process is delicate. Like an abrasion on the skin, there is a scraping or wearing away layer—by—layer and with this breakdown and repair comes renewal.
"Since the onset of the pandemic, many of us have faced moments of uncertainty, unexpectedness, and flux. These experiences can be vulnerable, but can also spark joy, courage, and resilience. This exhibition is an opportunity to explore work by artists who have made radical shifts in their practice—from exploring entirely new challenges in materials and techniques, to confronting content around personal and cultural identity."
-Danielle Ogden, Curator
Artists were selected from a national call to artists. The exhibition includes outdoor sculpture and a 10’ outdoor mural in addition to site-specific installation and works of art in a range of media in the JAC’s galleries.
About the Artists:
Single figure paintings by Newport, RI artist Tyler Arment represent a glimpse of a person in the moment when their core strength, their human potential, physical and psychological power is being unleashed.
New Jersey-based Donna Bassin, Ph.D., uses art to explore the creative edge of collective loss, grief, mourning, and transformation. Her series in RAW, entitled Precious Scars, reflects the injuries brought on by the pandemic, ongoing racial and economic inequality, and further erosion of our democracy by ripping original portraits to create “wounds” in the work that are then stitched together using golden rice paper and thread.
Linda Behar (Providence, RI) explores body language and body shape in her performative, sculptural works. Her art creates images that echo the past, confront the present and embrace the future.
In the past two years, Cuban-American sculptor and painter Ana Flores sought refuge in the forest surrounding her studio in Charlestown, RI and found inspiration in the small, spindly trees that were fighting for space and light to grow in the dense space. She transformed these into ladders that will be exhibited at the JAC.
As the COVID-19 pandemic halted both personal and professional spheres for multi-disciplinary artist Noah Fox (Milford, CT), his work took on new meaning as his loving and gestural hand sculptures now looked like agents of virus and contagion. His site-specific installation at the JAC is filtered through the lens of social distancing, touch, intimacy, illness, and safety.
The sculptural forms by Dena Haden (New Bedford, MA) embody the ebb and flow of life cycles: coming into form, living, changing, and the residue left behind in passing.
After becoming a paraplegic at the age of 30 due to a rare neurological condition, Aimee Hofmann (Tuckahoe, NY) journeyed to redefine herself as a woman in a wheelchair. During a two month hospital stay, she picked up a paintbrush and started painting. For RAW, Hofman will install a 10' x 10' mural outside the JAC that combines painting by hand and her wheelchair.
Paul Housberg (Jamestown, RI) explores the juxtaposition of order and randomness, as well as the human tendency to seek patterns in chaos. His well-known grid structures that are architecturally integrated into large, public spaces have undergone a transformation during the pandemic into a solitary practice of intimate works.
The multinational portraits by ML Kirchner, taken in the US and Guatemala, capture the dignity of the marginalized and portray characters within the context of a larger dialogue and in the geometry of their space.
The deeply personal and narrative work of Melanie dai Medeiros (Barrington, RI) reflects the artist's examination of her childhood memories, her community and the land, which exposed, Medeiros explains, "a duplicity of consciousness–juxtaposing the known with the felt."
About the Curator:
Danielle Ogden has spent the last 17 years immersed in the intersections of art, museums, and higher education. She is currently on faculty at Fairfield University, teaching Modern Art and the History, Theory and Practice of Museums. She also serves as Adult Learning Specialist at the Aldrich Museum Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, CT. Prior to this she supported the launch of the National Gallery Singapore, as Senior Manager of Adult Learning and Access Programs. Danielle has national and international experience curating, designing, and facilitating cross-disciplinary initiatives, leading in-gallery tours, lecturing, and building programs for adult audiences at The Museum of Modern Art, Harvard University Art Museums, The British National Trust, Newport Restoration Foundation, and Westport Museum of Contemporary (formally Westport Arts Center). Danielle holds an MA from Boston University in Art History and an Ed.M. in Education from Harvard University. Danielle will serve as Curator of Engagement for Jamestown Arts Center’s Outdoor Arts Biennial, opening Spring 2022.