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Method: Degrees of Separation, the second of three IDENTITY exhibitions, highlights the art process with a special appreciation of historical methods within a voice of haptic ways of seeing. The featured artists come from various points of view—conceptually, pictorially, and aesthetically—yet collectively they share a deep dedication to creating artwork by way of a traditional method. In curator Eleana Del Rio’s words “Tradition by way of ‘method’ – stated loosely - is the exhibition’s topic.”
In this day and age, the appreciation of traditional techniques in art making are being challenged as never before. The expanding world of technology and telecommunications so vigorously embraced by the public has changed the way we see and appreciate art. Personal expression has become as simple as a press of the button on our phone. We all create, manipulate, cut, paste, embellish, and filter in order to produce pleasing as well as visually convincing images.
These days we may better comprehend how a CGI’d visual image on a screen is constructed, than how an artist creates an original painting or drawing to say nothing of recognizing and appreciating the “uniqueness” of that artwork. The technological world of mass-produced imagery often leaves little opportunity to engage the question about what is an original, a one-of-a-kind artwork.
In Ways of Seeing, John Berger writes about how what we see is determined by what we know. It is the curator’s intention to engage viewers with the selected artworks in a way that may be unfamiliar. Del Rio says, “I often try to set my personal reset button when viewing art. It is too easy, to peruse at a glance, scroll or scan. Often with concerted effort, I stop myself long enough to fully engage with a single piece of artwork, sometimes forcing myself to ask: ‘Is this a drawing? Where did the artist make his first mark? First brush stroke? How was that object formed? What is it made of?’ In asking these questions, I often experience a deeper appreciation for the art.”
The installation includes drawings in pencil, silverpoint, and carbon pencil; painting with a brush in oil paint and egg/oil tempera; sculpture by way of hand molding material such as clay, wood, natural and manmade materials. These are all traditional applications with one degree of separation
Darlene Campbell, F. Scott Hess, Kenny Harris, Ira Korman, Judy Nimtz, Sarah Perry, Robert Schultz, and Peter Zokosky are all longtime KDR artists who work within a more traditional framework, a signature component of the gallery program. They have chosen to study traditional technique extensively and make central to the foundation of their work the basic principles of linear perspective, layering of pigments, and sculptural processes that are hallmarks of the Western art tradition. The content of the work varies; the connecting thread is the shared approach, which has the weight of history behind it, and focuses on what the individual artist sees and knows.