The new exhibit at Slocumb Galleries on the campus of East Tennessee State University may jar those who believe art should always be on the walls or on pedestals.
“This is the younger generation of artists. They’re more free to question the canons of what is accepted as art and what is not,” said Karlota I. Contreras-Koterbay, director of the galleries.
“One example is one of our exhibitions pieces by Patrick LeMieux. The work [‘Royal Doggedness’] is a floor mat and he wants his work to be displayed outside the gallery. You can walk through it. He’s subverting the concept of art, that it needs to be on a pedestal.”
“Structures and Subversions” opened June 14 and will remain on display in the galleries, in Ball Hall on the ETSU campus through July 2. Admission is free.
The artists, who have either just finished graduate school or have been working outside the traditional gallery system, are redefining space as well.
Steven Abadie has created a bridge-like work that extends overhead from the gallery walls for about eight feet.
Another piece, by Kelly McCafferty, is an installation of bundles of textiles that descends from the ceiling.
“It’s not the traditional framed images on the walls,” said Contreras-Koterbay. “These are different examples of art you don’t always see.”
There some pieces on the walls, however.
Jonathan Frey created a grid of 12 squares, in which are tic tac toe images, all of them non-solutions to the game. Titled “U’Tic’Tac’Topia” the work focuses on the idea of failure as it relates to utopian modernist forms.
Alison McNulty also played with the idea of what is art by creating what initially looks like a beautiful framed work but upon closer examination is spider cobwebs. “The framed image is similar to handwriting,” Contreras-Koterbay said.
The artists also are questioning the fundamentals of art forms.
Charles Benton is experimenting with photography. “He cuts the actual film before he prints, so on the piece that he has in the show, which is a photograph of the ocean ... there is a black spot in the middle of the image. When you look closely it’s a void space. ... [It’s exploring] what is photography now?” Contreras-Koterbay said.
The exhibit was co-curated by Stacy Isenbarger and Anna Kell, visiting assistant professors at the ETSU Department of Art & Design. The artists comes from New York City and Brooklyn,Kentucky, Georgia, South Carolina, Ohio, Florida and Wisconsin.
Other exhibiting artists are Kip Bradley, Tate Foley, Ariel Koller, Hui Chi Lee, Joy Drury Cox, Daniel McFarlane, Ladis Pietro and Brent Thomas.
Slocumb Galleries is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., weekdays during the summer.
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