The Sense of Place: HERE Essay

Partnership of Sight: 

New Frontiers of Aesthetic Experience

in the 21st Century

 

Introduction: 

 Liberating the Aesthetic Experience

 

Edited By:  Vicki Milewski

 

Written by

Vicki Milewski

 

With help from

Jules Heffe

Michael Milewski

Jules Heffe

Michael Milewski

 

 

Introduction:

Liberating the Aesthetic Experience

 

Galaudet Gallery begins a new four year run of internationally juried art exhibits this summer with their art series Sense of Place.  Each year will bring explorations into a different perspective of place with the first year looking at HERE, the second year investigates THERE, the third year is EVERYWHERE and the fourth year is NOWHERE.  This four year art series has at its core Galaudet Gallery’s efforts to revitalize the Arts and Crafts Movement for the 21st Century. [i]

 

In Galaudet Gallery’s last four year art series called My Medicine [ii] artists were found liberating the frontiers of art as medicine encouraging Eastern and Western healing modalities to complement each other as a new medicine—artists liberated art to work as a healer and intermediary.  The My Medicine art exhibits were a wonderful survey of art from around the world confirming a new use of genres and materials, possibly an effect from responses to the digital revolution and its subsequent enmeshing of hemispheres, cultures and meanings.  This brings Galaudet Gallery’s current art exhibit to fruition for in Sense of Place:  HERE Galaudet Gallery sees a continuation of the liberation forces from last year freeing forms and structures while also liberating ties to place and in doing so discovering new frontiers of place that they are calling a “partnership of sight”.  It is through a “partnership of sight” between the artist and each viewer of their art that a revitalized aesthetic experience is happening.  This is the newly discovered frontier and in it we have found much great art.

 

The jury for Sense of Place:  HERE (SOPH) sought art that deals with the exhibit theme or place from many different perspectives while also using ideas from three different collections of essays:  Beyond the Wall By Edward Abbey[iii], John Hildebrand’s Northern Front[iv] and The Studio Reader: On the Space of Artists[v].  These collections of essays also informed the curation of each of the five rooms in Galaudet Gallery assisting in the creation of connected themes:

  • The Anteroom connects Sense of Place Explorer artworks informed by Abbey’s idea of the “back of beyond” which is inspiring Galaudet Gallery’s 2018 art season.  It is the explorers who go out into the wilderness first preparing the way for new frontiers.

 

  • The Tower Room connects Sense of Place Wilderness artworks informed by Abbey’s idea of Hunters and Warriors who were artists and craftspeople, who knew the wilderness they hunted and fought in and also knew their inner wilderness.

 

  • The Bay Room connects Sense of Place Connection artworks partially informed by Hildebrand’s essays and also informed by Abbey’s idea of Shamans and Wizards who know their powers through a sympathetic connection with place just as artists may create through “sympathetic magic” establishing a “partnership of sight” with each viewer of their work.

 

  • The Studio Room connects Sense of Place Revolutionary artworks informed by Abbey’s ideas on revolutionaries and farmers who use “practical magic” to create revolutions within themselves and in their collective societies just as many artists create revolutions within and through their art. It is after and through revolutions that new frontiers of place are created and discovered.

 

  • The Center Shop connects each of these three ideas in the Sense of Place Dreamers’ artworks who are Revolutionizing thru Connections to inner and outer Wilderness places with jewelry and other handmade items.  Jewelry made from historic and current materials and techniques from around the world was created to connect places and their histories and to revolutionize the way we perceive our place in the world. Abbey wrote that “The Dream is real; waking life is only a dream within a greater dream.” The Dreaming of Jewelry is one of those greater dreams.

 

These five ideas found in Galaudet Gallery’s five rooms have been curated to create “back of beyond” experiences viewed also as after liberation experiences gauged to answer “What happens the moment after liberation?”  Artists used and merged genres like realism, abstraction, expressionism, botanicals, surrealism, photography, architecture, fiber, artist books and other ways to explore SOPH beginning the creation of new frontiers of place.   If the last four year art series culminated in liberating artistic frontiers then this year for SOPH we find ourselves in a liberated state with new frontiers to discover.  This posits that in the act of creating, artists are liberating the moment of creation and encouraging viewers to discover this liberation inside and outside themselves, their worlds and in the artwork itself—this is the next evolution of the aesthetic experience.[vi] 

 

For their 2018 art season, Galaudet Gallery was primarily inspired by Ed Abbey.  Abbey’s ideas were used as a lens for selecting and curating because the judges and curators of SOPH see connection points between Abbey’s explorations of wilderness places which discovered new frontier places in land and thought about conservationism which created his sense of vanishing wilderness in need of revolutionary conservationists.  These ideas can assist in understanding current movements in art which seek to disrupt genres and utilize materials in ways that texturize anarchy into a useable disorder which retains certain rules but begins the decimation of propping up artists and artworks for only financial negotiations, instead; artists seek a value determination through recognition of an artwork’s ability to elicit an aesthetic experience. Possibly these disruptions may also evolve the heritage of fetishism when artworks were seen to contain magical powers much the same as ideas Abbey explored and the judges and curators of SOPH considered.  The loss of magical experiences in contemporary culture is founded in a disbelief in anything outside of conventional reality when art in general and as a historical body of work is located outside conventional reality to begin with—so why not allow a little magic to be present or experienced?

 

These rebellious movements from artists liberating materials and genres and freeing them to be seen as new frontiers are electrifying.  Even traditional paintings in SOPH have this sense about them as abstraction and realism are merged and materials like paper are used in transformative ways.  All of these movements take arms against aesthetic servitude to liberate form and color to be what they essentially are—frontiers standing before wilderness experiences.  Artworks now stand independent of concept or genre allowing artists freedom to use materials to reach the goal of creating art—not in service to a concept or further a genre, but to create individual pieces of art. Like the marks we all make throughout life to let others know we exist, that we matter, that we are HERE.  These marks are the ideas of presence, of being present, of being connected to others, to self to an experience like viewing art in its original liberated state.  HERE is not a city, state or country it is instead a sense of being fully alive in each moment and sharing that experience thru art.

 

The 42 juried local and international artists with over 70 original breathtaking artworks are not suggesting place doesn’t exist in SOPH; instead, they see a place that tries our deepest secrets upon its scenery and when we see our secrets written on the sky or in a rock or within an outstretched hand we find comfort, maybe home, maybe HERE but definitely a wise confidant who can assist us in sharing what we thought should be secret and in that sharing creating a new place to live.  The first way of looking at the exhibit theme of Sense of Place:  HERE is through ideas from Edward Abbey like his statement about past artists who created rock art he would find during his hiking in the American southwest:

 

“They tried (the desert’s) deepest secrets.  Now they have vanished….But the undeciphered message they left us remains, written on the walls.  A message preserved not in mere words but in images of line on stone. We were here.”—Ed Abbey

 

Sense of Place:  HERE Artists

 

Liz Alcyone

Jim Backus

Gina Borglum

Audrey M Casey

David Culver

Jim Dine

Eugene Feldman

Kevin J. Finnerty

Char Gilman

Eleanor Gryzbowski

Le Hac

Naomi Hart

Cathy Immordino

Stacy Isenbarger

 

 

 

 

 

Cory O’Brien

Lorraine Ortner-Blake

Helen Paul

Natalie Pivoney

O.Gustavo Plascencia

Erin Schalk

Paul Schwertner

C J Sternberg

Elijah Thaxter

Sha Towers

Sue Valois

Jill Valenzuela

Pio Valenzuela

Sue Valois

 

 

 

Craig Jobson

Sophie Jordan

Denise Koch

Janet Kruskamp

Anne Leibowitz

Maureen Love

Benjamin Madeska

Chris Maher

Greg McLemore

Sofronio Y Mendoza

Michael Milewski

Vicki Milewski

Ken Minami

Sarah Suzanne Noble

 

 

 

 

These artists are here and they are breaking open secrets and more in this exhilarating exhibit.  A wall in the exhibit is dedicated to hearts by Sophie Jordan, Jim Dine and a photograph of Anne Oakley’s Target Heart by Anne Leibowitz each heart plays with this idea of HERE through watercolor, woodcut printing or a photo of a heart shot through its center—HERE is where the heart is:  being present and aware of each moment places us HERE always.  But place challenges us with its epochal geologic time and ever erosional, seasonal face.  Using landmarks like a tree can be difficult since that tree’s form is ruled by change, its very flow of life is too which helps us realize we are ruled in the same way.  Art can serve as a seemingly unchanging touchstone for us to return to knowing that woodcut heart has not changed but each time we view it we have changed and in that change we find ourselves and our SOPH.  Each time we view an artwork our secrets are tried and like any good touchstone we can see how secrets have shifted and limiting definitions are now loosed and wild.

 

Abbey’s idea of being in a certain place at a certain time asks the question, “What does that cause us to want to leave behind, to take with us or to experience right now?”  Past cultures left their arts and crafts behind giving us glimpses into their presence, their sense of place and certain meaningfulness to their cultures.  The artists in Galaudet Gallery’s Sense of Place:  HERE ask questions, try secrets upon the idea of place and know that freedom is defined by each of us—as diverse and unique as each one us are and as each artwork is too.

 

It is in this freedom that SOPH artists and curators begin to form a new “partnership of sight” between each viewer of art and each artist with the artwork creating the insurrection to make such a partnership, the connection to form such a partnership, the revolution to create such a partnership and the dreaming we all enjoy since as we are free so too is dreaming.  The dreaming in SOPH is to usher in the discoveries of new frontiers in aesthetic experiences through this new found “partnership of sight” experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part One:   Entry to the Back of Beyond

“Into the backlands, the back of beyond, the original and primitive…”

—Ed Abbey

 

 

A new place for curation in this exhibit is the anteroom where an alcove, a simple wall and an Egyptian cabinet will work to introduce each exhibit.  As a new curatorial space, the curators have chosen disparate pieces which all speak to SOPH themes but work better as a preparation.  The artists represented in the anteroom are the explorers—the ones who go before anyone else in the creation of a life in the wilderness.  All the artists in SOPH are working on creating a new frontier which is the border of an undiscovered country.   This is where the explorers go—to chart that country and make it into the next frontier.  The curators see the anteroom for SOPH metaphorically since the frontier is the border for an undiscovered country and so it contains attributes of the known country and the unknown.  The frontier is the place where viewers of art have their aesthetic experiences.

 

The Explorer Artists

Artists proposing a partnership of sight in an artistic wilderness

 

Michael Aram

Jim Backus

William Plante

O. Gustavo Plascencia

C J Sternberg

 

O. Gustavo Plascencia’s Without Anger, Expectations Or Limitations is displayed on the simple wall as an energy that speaks to the idea of what the back of beyond is the moment before exploration begins.  Michigan Artist William Plante’s Sleep of Winter explores the historical process of hand processing sepia toned photographs into the late 20th Century creating a dream-like scene which suggests current mythological associations with the car culture could be fading and becoming a memory just like the older car begins to be covered with snow.  Plante’s use of this archaic printing process on such a dreamlike image suggests exploration is needed to establish new frontiers of transportation.  Displayed over the Egyptian Cabinet is another dreaming artwork is C J Sternberg’s Favorite Places that has an antique scene contrasted with vivid matting that continues the scene of a summer day on a farm.  Sternberg’s old fashioned scene with the fading and nostalgia echo Plante’s exploration suggestions but instead of transportation Sternberg suggests exploring where our food comes from and where it might come from in the future.  These three artists begin the SOPH exhibit and work toward a “partnership of sight” with each viewer.

 

 

Inside the Egyptian Cabinet is jewelry by Cory O’Brien, Elijah Thaxter and Eleanor Gryzbowski who together explore new ways to view and make jewelry and new connections to this world.  Each of their jewelry art pieces is explored more in Part Five of this essay:  The Dreaming of Jewelry.  There is also a wonderful metal corn platter by Michael Aram.  This Egyptian cabinet has hand carved Ancient Egyptian scenes featuring Akhenaton who is created with establishing the first monotheistic religion—exploring the idea of a single point of focus of love.

 

A photograph by literal explorer Jim Backus is in the alcove.  Backus chooses to fully include the viewer, using his camera to liberate place through physically going into the “back of beyond” to bring back wilderness images that most of us don’t have the chance to experience.  In his metal printed photo Black and Spirit Bear we are included in the chance meeting of a black bear and a rare white bear on a wet fallen tree.  It is not an easy meeting and the detail Backus captures with his lens is amazing as the animals open jaws to see which one will back up or fall off.  It is a detailed, connective liberation of place with these bears, Backus and each viewer in a place that is new and available for repeated viewings and forms a “partnership of sight” between Backus and the viewer who are connected by Backus’ photograph.

 

These initial artworks describe Abbey’s idea of the “back of beyond” and in doing so allow each visitor to transition from their day-to-day reality and into another way of looking at art using the “partnership of sight” that could create an aesthetic experience for each viewer in these artistic wildernesses.  Galaudet Gallery takes into consideration the space where art is viewed to provide for the possibilities of experiencing art in new ways.  By including the Anteroom into their curatorial vision they suggest that the decision to visit an art gallery to view art is the beginning of the “partnership of sight” and in that decision each viewer has certain expectations for their visit.  Many people in the community visit Galaudet Gallery and are refreshingly exuberant in their reason for visiting—to look at art.  It is with this feeling that Galaudet Gallery thought it would be fun to take Abbey’s idea of the “back of beyond”, which is guiding all their exhibits for 2018, and place it as the threshold experience upon entering SOPH. 

 

 

 

 

 

Part Two

Part Two:   Texturizing a New Anarchy of Aesthetic Experience

“Hunters—warriors were artists.  They made their own weapons and tools.”

—Ed Abbey

 

 

Galaudet Gallery’s Tower Room holds Sense of Place Wilderness artworks.  SOPH curators collected the artists who were texturizing anarchy through new material usage, genre blending and aesthetic experience explorations.  These practices can also be seen as liberation of frontiers.   Abbey had proposed new ways to view wilderness and frontier suggesting that in viewing both of these differently one could understand them on a different level and affect a change that SOPH curators view as creating frontiers.  This is one of the ways SOPH artists liberated place into a wilderness outside of genres and finding that it may be the wilderness created that is liberating artistic practices.  

 

 

The Wilderness Artists 

Artists who texturize anarchy in service to wilderness

 

Liz Alcyone

Eugene Feldman

Naomi Hart

Cathy Immordino

Benjamin Madeska

Sofronio Y Mendoza (SYM)

Michael Milewski

Lorraine Ortner-Blake

Erin Schalk

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Los Angeles artist Erin Schalk creates a “poetry of place” with dimensional abstractions of wilderness—place-making new ways to view cultural similarities by showing a globally shared sense of cartographic representations.  Schalk’s sculptural pieces liberate the idea of works on paper by creating motion and depth with traditional materials like acrylic and cast paper merged with wire and wood panel.  It is in her manipulation of these materials that anarchy is sensed—an anarchy of materials.   Inner Strata clears a path toward understanding HERE as this moment producing a metaphoric depth with ombre effects and sculptural forms.  Abandoned Outwash explores the sense of place as this space in front of art—it is a SOPH experience which liberates itself from a geographic locale and explicates its viewers from any time/space continuum for being present in HERE transcending any gravity based model or supposition about being from somewhere or being a local—instead we are residents in our lives and in each moment recognizing with respect the inspiration geographic and communal places like Eau Claire, WI or Los Angeles, CA provide.

 

Madison, Wisconsin artist Lorraine Ortner-Blake gently walks us into this liberated sense of place in her gouache on wood Presence which shows a new type of wilderness where 21st Century way-finding signs are found in “the dignity of trees” and “the life of breezes”.  Her soft colors and hidden forms and meanings offer a banquet of visual experiences while also offering what liberated place looks like and feels like.   Seemingly surrealist when first viewed a new sense of magic realism is broken into through returning to this piece and a true sense of a new frontier on the edges of a new wilderness is experienced.   The soft anarchy here is quiet and captivating allowing anarchy’s usefulness to surface.   This sense of magical realism is also seen in Minnesota Artist Naomi Hart’s created wilderness of depth and structure in her mixed media encaustic Soothsayer.  The clear surface of the wax contains images, ideas and pigments that work together to liberate each material into a new place, a new way of seeing them. 

 

The texture of Soothsayer is contrasted with Homage to King (Creepshow) Cathy Immordino’s smooth sublimation on aluminum which allows the LA River a chance to express itself and transcend its state of moving through canals.  Homage to King (Creepshow) dazzles with how the metal captures light and refracts it differently, depending on how this piece is viewed, creating depth just as moving water does and as metal does.  It is the union of these two—the image and the material—which creates the wilderness of place and even from another room visitors look back to marvel at the complex relationship we have with water, metal, art while also just enjoying the movement and colors and wilderness performance.  The anarchy seen in the moving water displays its inherent wilderness even when moving through human-made canals.  This movement of depth also occurs in Benjamin Madeska’s oil painting Lake Michigan.  The sense of standing on the Lake Michigan beach right where the water might roll in to cover your feet while capturing the change of hue as you look out into the distance where the meeting of sky and water is liberated by harmony of blue hues and the transcendence that this could be anywhere, that place is where we stand at any given moment.

 

A surprising inclusion in the SOPH wilderness curation is the Galaudet Gallery acquisition of Multiples:  The First Decade by John L. Tancock and designed by Eugene Feldman.  This seeming exhibition catalog for an art exhibit of multiples was designed to be a multiple.  It’s presence foreshadows a future exhibit.   Ed Colker spoke about Feldman, “Eugene Feldman was an artist who did not fear technology. Indeed, his embrace of the “revelations” possible in computer imagery, “explosion” enlargements…echoes of high-speed printing forms, and elements of modern typographic composition might, at first, mislead a newcomer into the false assumption that drawing and poetry were absent….leading us into the jungle…” of a wilderness of place.  The odd snap cover means everything to this book’s construction since it is with this snap that the book is transformed into a multiple—a work of art.  Feldman was creating a new frontier with his works of the 1970’s like Multiples… and it is this frontier that is being used for some excursions into new wildernesses.  Multiples…’s rainbow circles do not belie this highly readable book it’s like a functioning wilderness where leaves and streams read easily under sunlight.  It is in Feldman’s use of technology—still feeling new now 40 years later—which describes a historical anarchy like a thread in a quilt of artists changing art.

 

Also offering experiences of a liberated place is Michael Milewski’s architecture like in his Heart Embrace an architectural ornament liberating the sky within wood forms.  While his Open Heart embraces a functioning architectural brace for a roof which creates a space where viewers find themselves between HERE, a moment, and their lives living each moment art is enjoyed which moves everyone into a new frontier of being, a wilderness of possibilities, a message to bring to others and bring others HERE to experience. Like the revolution of the flying buttress from hundreds of years ago, Milewski’s Open Heart signals a new way to build and a new way to live in the wilderness of place.  Milewski also proposes a new perspectival vision in using hewn wood pieces whose curve and load bearing are based on a mathematically calculated model which allows for the natural tendencies of the wood to be exposed thereby providing a place for wilderness to be present and in its presence allowing it room to liberate.  It is in making room for nature’s presence that Milewski joins the anarchy for a purpose—the purpose of liberation through nature and with nature. Milewski’s architectural insurrection moves ideas from architect Louis Sullivan[vii] into the 21st Century by not only using nature as an inspiration to guide the design process but to also invite nature into the actual design—not as an imitative function but as a form itself.  These actions create a steady “partnership of sight” between Milewski and each viewer of his art whether in photographic form as seen in SOPH or in its real world architectural forms.

 

These are a few of the ways the artists in Galaudet Gallery’s Tower Room texturize a new anarchy to bring about a liberation of the frontiers in artistic practice.  These SOPH artworks only start the wilderness journey creating “partnerships of sight” between each artist and each viewer.  Abbey wrote, “Hunters—warriors were artists.  They made their own weapons and tools.”  The artists collected for the SOPH Wilderness make their own tools in that they are creating new ways to use materials and new sight to view genres and new ways to understand place as frontiers bordering unexplored regions of physical space, abstract thought, personal feelings and comprehension of spirit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part Three “Sympathetic magic”

Is the sympathetic resonance connecting Place

“Shamans and wizards evoking sympathetic magic to aid the hunt.”—Abbey

 

The Bay Room shows Sense of Place Connection artworks which speak with both Abbey’s idea of “sympathetic magic” and author John Hildebrand’s thoughts on “home” and “belonging”.  Abbey writes that “Shamans and wizards evoking sympathetic magic” were akin to making life imitate art so if a shaman drew a slain bison on a rock wall they would be able to produce that result in their physical reality.  This idea of “sympathetic magic” led SOPH curators to consider the idea of using a “sympathetic resonance” in creating an aesthetic experience.  Sympathetic resonance is usually defined in musical parameters as a passive string on an instrument vibrating when a string of harmonic likeness is struck.[viii]  And so the curators sought to strike harmonic convergences between viewers and artworks and in the flow of the entire exhibit.  Curators also considered current physics research into the resonance of the human body and how certain frequencies can cause the human body to vibrate at different rates.[ix] This is a small view of the “sympathetic magic” SOPH curators employed when working on this exhibit, more simply put curators use “sympathetic magic” to display artworks that could assist in connecting viewers to their sense of place.

 

The Connection Artists

Artists who connect with viewers through “sympathetic magic?

 

Audrey M Casey

David Culver

Kevin J. Finnerty

Stacy Isenbarger

Craig Jobson

Denise Koch

 

 

 

Chris Maher

Greg McLemore

Ken Minami

Sarah Suzanne Noble

David Nichols

Natalie Pivoney

 

 

Paul Schwertner

Sha Towers

Jill Valenzuela

Pio Valenzuela

Sue Valois

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To aide in connecting these contextual ideas and the singular “idea of place”, SOPH curators also looked to Hildebrand’s idea of “chasing stories” since the curators and judges sometimes feel they are “chasing ideas”.  Inspired by his experiences in the community where this exhibit takes place Hildebrand writes:

 

If “sense of place” implies a particular meaning that can only be decoded after long residence, then I don’t buy it.  A landscape is both a place and an idea of that place.

 

Wisconsin artist David Culver shows agreement with Hildebrand in his impressionistic homage The Next Year.  Both Culver and Hildebrand see that landscape “is both a place and an idea” since Culver posits that his belonging may occur between two points that can be connected.  Culver sends out “a message” that self and place may be two separate points on a map which can be connected by an image, by an experience like his painting The Next Year that was inspired by a specific experience along the Mississippi River where Culver lives.  This connection to place is liberated by his impressionistic rendering of the experience and by his connection to it—the self and place are connected by the image which liberates both.  Adding an external viewer and their personal experiences and ways of seeing, brings Culver’s The Next Year into a “partnership of sight”—with image connecting the artist and the viewer into a new type of vision.

 

Illinois artist Natalie Pivoney also creates this “partnership of sight” with her small scale paintings depicting buildings “which become portraits that bear a history”.  The small oil paintings on paper create a personal space between the work and each viewer so that they may experience these buildings as more than just buildings.   Pivoney’s artist statement aligns with Hildebrand’s ideas on how different people can all call a place “home” when Pivoney writes that she is interested in “the way a place can influence our identity”.  Hildebrand sees it similarly using different language about the shared idea of “home” as a place where people feel comfortable projecting “their ambitions onto the same space.”

 

The most compelling of these is the idea of home.  It’s a strange construct of emotions and allegiances—this story we tell ourselves about where we belong—and the conflict between versions…

 

The idea of belonging, of being connected to a place, creates the influences on identity that Pivoney speaks of in her work.  Her choice of older, possibly closed business locations also speaks to an identity many of the millennial generation have experienced where prosperity and affluence have not influenced them as it has for past generations.  Pivoney’s small oils on paper also note the ongoing artistic debate over the artistic use of the camera because her drawings could read as photographs; however, closer interrogation shows that not to be true.  Instead her detailed drawings work because they are expressionistic and sometimes abstract in specific places, merging the ideas of realism, expressionism and abstraction within a couple of inches.  This emergent style dissuades the viewer of seeing these works as photographs thereby discounting the camera’s ability to create such a merge which could also be another ending to the use of perspective and seeing its replacement in the “partnership of sight” between the artist and the viewer—whose connection by the image constitutes a new type of vision.

 

Abbey saw in the ancient rock art how place could influence and define identity and how life can influence and define place.  This rock art was a visual artifact created by “sympathetic magic” in response to place.   The hunt for life, sometimes seen in the basics of food, water and shelter, are also seen in rock art as the need for beauty, pleasure and meaningfulness evidenced in the myriad designs ancient shamans drew on rocks.  Rock art shows liberating moments where the artists were able to choose life, to choose a certain path or trail and to choose connection to themselves, to others and to place.   Abbey’s use of the word “sympathetic” shows the deep connection he had and felt past people had with nature so much so that shamans were able to call upon a “sympathetic magic to aid in the hunt”.  But “the hunt” Abbey points to in the rock art is not only about a literal hunt, or even a physical hunt since Abbey writes that the shamans also used  “Imitative magic:  life imitates art.” first explaining that images put onto the rocks could illicit a physical reaction.  Some of the rock art shows designs and possible abstract art precursors that Abbey sees as “Imitative magic” used to create art and which could connect people through communicating life experiences.  Possibly the first use of the Galaudet Gallery proposed theory of “partnership of sight”.

 

Idaho artist Stacy Isenbarger uses “Imitative magic” in her fiber art to transmute experiences and communicate the origin of such action as well as to dialogue about parameters of control and how boundaries may be another artistic technique. Isenbarger subverts the traditional idea of creating a quilt to connect with the sense of being owned and experiencing boundaries in her artwork Boundary (Owned).  Hand sewing of the word “mine” in white thread across the front of a light blue satin material is at first hidden since it is so unexpected.  The blue satin defined by sewn puffs bring to mind clouds hovering over the idea of “mine”.   An ace bandage is sewn near the top and then allowed to fall freely to the ground, as a path toward relinquishing control through letting go.  It is in these choices that Isenbarger uses Imitative magic:  life imitates art” opening a dialogue about control and boundary possibly being the same.  It is in this dialogue that creates the “partnership of sight” with Boundary (Owned) as a presence facilitating dialogue connecting the artist and each viewer.

 

Audrey M. Casey’s Winter’s Finale shows a Roundhouse Barn that is surrounded by signs of winter ending.  Casey’s title explains the patchy snow and the yellow and brown hues surrounding the barn which brings excitement to many Northerners who labor through winter and are overjoyed to see its finale.  Casey’s “imitative magic” is seen in the small scale details that reach into our sense of place and cause viewers to think about that barn, that place and winter’s place.  Casey works with the “partnership of sight” by connecting each viewer to her barn and in doing so liberates the barn and its former location into a new place in each viewer’s mind.

 

Two book artists are also found in the SOPH connections room because of their literal and symbolic approaches to using connection points as foundational aspects in their artworks and creating new frontiers through these connections.  Illinois artist Craig Jobson’s Republic of Texas Mini Stamp Album uses the idea of Texas creating a Republic of Texas stamp in case they need to secede from the United States.  Jobson uses satire to exorcise past experiences he has had and create new possibilities now and in the future by using his familiarity with Texas to create connection points within each of the 26 stamps all tinged with an attitude of defiance.  Jobson’s satiric images partner his work with each viewer to create a “partnership of sight” allowing a peak into how others look at a locale and questioning how the viewer sees the same locale.   While Texas book artist Sha Towers uses an accordion structure to express a sense of incomprehension with the “world we have made” even while creating a beautiful end page around those very words.  Towers’ We Are Writing These Things is a singular work of art with hand painted pages and hand written words that uses the literal connection of books and words to bring each viewer toward an understanding about the worlds they have made and are making with each idea folding into each other.

 

Ken Minami also uses this approach of connecting with viewers through literal and symbolic places and themes in his wonderful oil painting The Homework Hour depicting an “Edward Hopper in the 21st Century” [x] sense of place where a young man is doing his homework in a restaurant while the waitress walks outside into light and the cook has a frying pan shadow on his back.  The Homework Hour dabbles in an idea about absorption and the evolution of French painting in the mid 1700’s[xi] to posit that any viewers of a work of art may not exist.  Minami represents each of the three figures in his work as being “engrossed or absorbed in actions or states of mind, who therefore were felt to be unaware of being” viewed. [xii] This absorption in The Homework Hour could create a sense “that there is no one present before the canvas” which could also be displaying a “first beholder” philosophy—that the painter is the first beholder  and after the painter there would be no one else to view the work since the painter incorporates himself into the work:  as seen in the waitress walking towards light (the artist having an inspiration), the student looking like he is drawing (the artist at work) and the cook cleaning up before leaving the scene with that frying pan shadow on his back like he is disappearing into the scene (the artist cleaning up after working).   Incorporating himself into the work while also showing the process of his work is quite compelling.  The disassociation of the viewer transcends place and causes a contemporary tension between knowing and witnessing a metaphysical sight which cannot be fully explained.  The use of color and abstraction in the painting’s light sources merges ideas of realism, expressionism and abstraction that were first seen in Pivoney’s small oils on paper.  This merging connects the viewer to this scene even when each of the figures’ self absorption attempts to disconnect the viewer.  This merging also creates a “partnership of sight” between the artist and the viewer.  The Homework Hour’s narrative, genre blending characteristics and its use of absorbing each figure in something other than being viewed all work together to join Minami and each viewer in a “partnership of sight” which takes a step beyond the discovery of this new frontier of sight and moves into a wilderness viewers may enter through this painting.

 

Jill Valenzuela rusted a cloth over a manhole cover to create her Rusted in Time—connecting a definite place like a manhole cover with a fragile piece of cloth and then sewing on her meanings and secrets.   The resultant connection with place liberates it to a lived experience.  That “no authority” rusted onto the cloth backwards supports Valenzuela’s belief that her art does not need to serve political positioning.  Her Sabi En (Rusted Circles) have the same energy with raw silk dyed and beaded while also being weaved into a repurposed, rusted wire mesh—an insurgency  that proposes an opportunity we have never had before—the chance to liberate place and materials, genres and time through unconventional means.  While Jill’s Rusted in Time emphasizes a perspectival association with place, time and allusion to a physical object, her Rusted Circles play with the physiology of sight using detailed weaving, tiny beading and an ombre blending to work the eye in different ways contributing to a new connection pathway.  Using both a “sympathetic magic” borne from a deep response to place and materials and an “imitative magic” found in using familiar materials in new ways, Valenzuela’s fiber art encapsulates the idea of transcending place and creating new frontiers of place through her unconventional and radical approaches to making art.  These attributes easily invite each viewer into a “partnership of sight” with Valenzuela.

 

It is in these actions that the Sense of Place connection artists all work to connect viewers to their art and through that connection raise the idea of place into a new frontier, a new “partnership of sight” that is both physical and metaphysical.  This “partnership of sight” uses Abbey’s “sympathetic magic” to connect both the artist and the viewer to the artwork—through a shared sense of reality and feeling.  Using Abbey’s idea of “imitative magic” this “partnership of sight” also connects through each artwork by the artists’ uses of materials and their blending of genres.   These connections create a new frontier of place which each viewer may discover through each artwork.

 

Making connections between ideas and things a viewer is familiar with can elevate the connection points to other ideas.  Connections between the idea of doors will be discussed in the next section.  There are also connections with the fountain in Kevin J. Finnerty’s North School Park in Arlington Heights, IL and the fountain in Wilson Park a block away from Galaudet Gallery in Eau Claire, Wisconsin raising the connection between two American cities who live differently but hold similar values like a love of green spaces and fountains.   In making these connections we learn about ourselves and others, we see how similar we all are, we can understand the sunlight pouring thru two buildings built incredibly close but yet not touching.  In these connections there is the “imitative magic” Abbey wrote about since the connections are all expressions of life and the lived experience.  This is the connection point where place and moment can influence our future and with a “partnership of sight” begin rebuilding a sense of aesthetic experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part Three Subpart A:

The Wall of Doors

A curatorial sympathetic resonance

 

Once the curators saw an inner theme of doors emerging in several artworks they decided to curate “the wall of doors”.  Many viewers saw connection points with these doors whether it was an old barn or an urban Japanese magazine, viewers connected to this wall like no other in that they brought their own experiences of doors to their viewing.  Illinois Artist Sarah Suzanne Noble used two doors to accentuate the space between them in her photograph Slivers of Light.  The golden light issuing forth from between two Chicago row houses colors the doors and each building while the rays reaching into the foreground remind us that the sun is a star and its rays hold all the colors known to us.  It is these Slivers of Light which bring attention to the two unique doors and their history is easily seen in such light while it is also this light which causes the SOPH to be transcended since it could be anywhere in the world that these doors stand side by side.  In that transcendence each viewer is connected to this artwork through their own experience with a door.  It is this kind of connection that the curators see as the “sympathetic magic” Abbey writes about since it takes a deep understanding of a place to be able to cause this moment to transpire.

 

A different type of connection happens in Greg McLemore’s Apollo Men’s Magazine, Nagasaki City because the urban setting and the Chinese characters above the doorway cause a disconnection between the instant recognition of these two attributes and then the title informs the location to be Nagasaki, Japan.  The saturated yellow as a background for the words harkens to Japan’s nickname of “Land of the Rising Sun” while the grays of the buildings speak of urbanity in decline.  McLemore states that he uses “the architecture of the city to explore its history and psychology.” More than the city of Nagasaki is being explored as the oil paper used is roughed up in places and left smooth in others stopping the eye to ask questions about connection and history.  McLemore proposes a “partnership of sight” but on a different ground one where he explores connections of self through architectural resonance creating a study in architectonics by vibrating passive ideas to each viewer in his play with the harmonics of color, shape and line.

 

Alabama Artist David Nichols brings us to a more open viewing of a single door in his

Red Door with Geranium Window Box which has a tension between the muted hued red geraniums and the red doorway.  A viewer may first select the geraniums and the partially obscured window which provides an abstracted view into this home but there is little satisfaction in the flowers’ muted hues and the seeming lace curtain obstruction so the eye moves to examine the red door in hopes of finding information about what lies beyond. The casual viewing of Red Door with Geranium Window Box leads to a deeper understanding about the allure of artwork depicting doors—it is found in the question of “what lies beyond?” asked on many different levels and answered in kind.  But it is the saturation of the red door which ends any questioning of the inhabitants because the door itself is so satisfying.  There is also an unusual perspective since the small drawing is seen as if the viewer is floating or possibly in a very tall vehicle passing by and it is finally this perspective which creates the connection since it shows the imagined tension created between flowers and doorway is undone; there is no tension there, the real tension created is between looking at a seemingly innocent red door that has a unique tilt to the perspective.  No mistake is made in trying to create a sensible approach to perspective since if that had been done this drawing might not be as charming.[xiii]

 

Michigan artist Chris Maher’s photograph Fall Door leads one to believe we are not seeing everything.  It was this belief that caused the curators to make such a literal collection of artworks as the “wall of doors” since each piece causes us to wonder about the act of seeing and how an artist’s sight can change the world and reshape it in our minds.  Maher’s Fall Door is obscured by leaves just starting to change color and in this obstructed view is found a new way of seeing something commonplace like a door.   This half hidden door could also be seen as another way 21st Century artists are defining their public space/private space.  Artists may show enough to enable viewers to discern if something is a door, but not enough is shown for the viewer to complete the image of the door.  In fact, Maher chooses a door with history and uniqueness confounding each viewer’s need to complete the image.  In the current climate of intense image saturation on social medias artists are finding obscurement to be a useful tool.

 

The “wall of doors” plays with the “partnership of sight” by assisting  each viewer in seeing anew, seeing a new world shaped by the artist and viewer informed by the artist and viwer’s personal style, perspective, emotionality and their unique way of seeing.  Each of these doors could signify a specific place as McLemore tells us in the title Apollo Men’s Magazine, Nagasaki City but they can also recreate for each viewer the act of creating and then the motion of entering into a a new sense of place.  These acts of connection found on the “wall of doors” make each viewer more than a set of eyes but also active participants in reshaping place through an empowered vision founded in connections produced through “sympathetic magic” that becomes “sympathetic resonance” when a passive viewer finds harmony in partnership with an artist and an artwork allowing a correspondence to create understanding or agreement creates a connection which then creates new frontiers of place.[xiv]

 

 

 

 

Part Five: Revolutionaries Planting Seeds

“The art served as a record.  As practical magic.

And as communication between wanderers.”—Abbey

 

 

Galaudet Gallery’s Studio Room holds Sense of Place Revolutionary artworks which use Abbey described “practical magic” to communicate and create a “partnership of sight”.  Abbey’s “practical magic” is found in record keeping and communication which uses history and connection.  History is built through keeping records with the ability to communicate a sense of place in time—this is the very heart revolutions seek to change.  History builds its future much as a seed planted grows into a prescribed tree, revolutions seek to remove those seeds and plant a new crop, a new image of life, a new way to make art, but that means the history of the field needs to be known—what seeds have been planted and which ones may work within the new framework after the revolution has reached its goals.[xv]  This “practical magic” provides the power to communicate about a revolution, designing the seeds that can be planted and making way for a whole new way to plant.

 

The Revolutionary Artists

Artists who use “practical magic” to plant seeds

 

Michael Milewski

Vicki Milewski

Q

 

 

One of the ways the Studio Room’s artworks revolutionize the idea of SOPH is communicating where artists work.  One of the curatorial inspirations for this room is found in a collection of essays about how artists use studios in The Studio Reader.  Robert Storr’s essay “A Room of One’s Own, a Mind of One’s Own” begins with a simple idea, “The bottom line is that artists work where they can and how they can.”[xvi]  It is in the work that artists share a commonality and wherever they may work is their studio for those moments.  Since Galaudet Gallery’s Studio Room doubles as Vicki Milewski’s studio and as one of the gallery’s rooms means that at any given time she may be sharing the space with P.J. Redoute’s roses from the French revolutions[xvii] or Oscar Howe’s Medicine Man (Herb Root in Human Form)[xviii].  Being surrounded by influential and inspirations like these two artists has created the beginnings of a revolution in Milewski’s work—the first being a recognition that the Studio Room is not hers alone, which could also mean neither is her art.  Storr ends his essay with the thought that keeps her open to visitors at any moment, “The mystery and the marvel is in the work.”  Since art is all about the artwork and any interest in her studio practice is a side show that is only a “contingent reality”.   The mysteries in her artworks are sometimes embedded in Milewski’s overpainting style done while at work in the studio.  One of the marvels of her work is that the viewer does not need to know the work done in the studio to experience a “partnership of sight” which can create an aesthetic experience.

 

The main artworks in the Studio Room are two series by Milewski inspired by nature.  Milewski’s Hayfield Series was found growing on her farm during a simple walk in the hayfield.  Four plants vie for attention as they populate the field which  Milewski records as: The Peas, The Clover,  The Alfalfa and The Oats basing her work on the centuries old practice of botanical art, while adding her 21st Century spin revolutionizing the practice of botanical art through an incorporation of its historical record keeping merged with the poetry and style Milewski is known for.  Returning to Storr’s essay in Studio Reader is a quote from John Cage, ‘“when you enter your studio, everyone is there, the people in your life, other artists, the old masters, everyone”’— Milewski adds, “everything that is inside an artist is there as well, all the experiences, all the emotions, all the ideas, everything that is within the artist is in that space.” Cage continues, ‘“And as you work they leave, one by one.  And if it is a really good working day, well, you leave too.”’

 

And in that leaving, Milewski posits, “everything crowding your mind, holding you back, trying to get you to be sensible, all that leaves too, as you work it all leaves to show a vast expanse which is really where you inhabit.  This leaving is purely metaphysical, once everyone and everything leaves, once the vast space within opens up into an uncluttered space without HERE then I can go into that space and create, I can leave my physical studio space and go to another way of being.  Each brushstroke is like a tangible connection to my studio space and to the revolution brewing in my images allowing an experience of a whole other way of seeing and believing in art.”  These Hayfield paintings bring this expanse into a true communication with each viewer.  They are quiet paintings, with a background that shows the dry dusty fields preferred by Milewski’s Old Order Mennonite farmer and imbued with her signature over-painting that in this series comes out more silent and reflective then in past excursions. The newly emergent plants float above this background; in reality they are at most 2 inches in length, as artistic subjects much larger; vast portions of the field remain dusty while one plant breaks open the earth to start growing. This is the beginning of the “partnership of sight” Milewski proposes to each viewer and if accepted aesthetic experiences could follow.  This is the moment Milewski has captured with these canvases and this is the moment the revolution begins.

 

Another revolutionary recording Milewski provides for this exhibit is with her  Phoenix Park Balloon Tree Series with four artworks showing the first year this tree bloomed in 2016 called The Phoenix Park Balloon Tree (1-4) and in the current year of 2018 there are eight artworks named The Phoenix Park Balloon Tree 2 Windswept (1-8) when the wind became an instructor on abstraction by pulling the unopened blossoms off branches and mixing their fresh yellow color with the blues in sky and water like a natural revolution against conventional realistic art:  pure abstraction.  In The Phoenix Park Balloon Tree 2 Windswept series Milewski traces this abstraction in stages as a communication to wanderers that these blossoms littered the grass as a way of disposing of the limiting action of creation.  As these canvases progress each one shows the tree, blossoms, sky and water merge into one, a sense of the unity of all even as the colors and traces of form remain.  These canvases are poetry as Abbey describes it since to him, “Language, in the mind of the poet, seeks to transcend itself” the incremental abstraction of the Balloon Tree transcends itself and includes Milewski in the mixture of color and movement.  Then Abbey quotes artist Paul Klee[xix], “to grasp the thing that has no name.” is one of the tenants Klee held for the goal of art making.   Klee also wrote in his notebooks, “Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible." Instead of continuing to represent the Phoenix Park Balloon Tree in her magical realist style, Milewski chose to make visible the spirit of that tree and in so doing shows us glimpses of her own. Milewski works as did Klee and many other artists to reveal more than the current physical reality since there are many more realities open for our awareness and experience.

 

Algerian artist Q is also a record keeper with a  You Are Here series showing a Wisconsin barn and a computer chip—both places where sustenance is found, places where energy can be downloaded and stored, places that provide a sense of place which is HERE.  You Are Here: On the Farm! shows a deep blue sky with snow and a grey barn.  The double shadow of a single tree emphasizes the other realities Q also believes in, although Q does not manipulate any photography for those purposes.  In the same blue as the sky the words “You are here” with an arrow pointing at the neighbor’s farm suggests a visit to that farm on some level.  You Are Here: Oh Forty! uses a similar structure with a different field that of the 68040 computer microprocessor.  Q writes that the 68040 was the first microprocessor to have an on chip Floating-Point Unit and a fully integrated Memory Management Unit.  This integration meant that the chip could learn and do transcendental math (leading to the action of images and how we see computing today).  Q  looks at these two integrated features as the first time a microprocessor moved into the artificial intelligence realm which has begun the evolution toward the virtual intelligence realm—a possible new species for Earth.

 

Also in the Studio Room is an art installation that shows the beginning of a different type of revolution—one where the consumerist mecca may be turned to facilitating the renewal of the Arts and Crafts Movement in the 21st Century that embraces artists and craftspeople providing them with the vehicle to create a livelihood from the work of their hands.  This record is of the owners’ of Galaudet Gallery, siblings Mike and Vicki Milewski’s, trip to Bentonville, Arkansas to pitch art at Wal-Mart’s Home Office.  Their experiences and meetings are captured in this art installation in the southeast corner of the Studio Room.  Actual product pitched to Wal-Mart begins this revolution that could do away with anonymous art that has been stolen from actual artists through altering an artist’s original artwork enough to avoid copyright infringement and then having a Chinese factory produce it.  There is also “practical magic” to quote Abbey in the trip and pitch to Wal-Mart since it is the first step in a journey Galaudet Gallery owners are embarking on to find a true partner to bring art that is known to more people—when the artist is known, the materials used are known, when the inspiration may be known.  This leads to the Galaudet Gallery’s still evolving definition of “real art”

 

Real Art (draft definition):

< >art which has a purpose, presence and/or produces an aesthetic experience; art which is original, unique, rare; art that is made by thoughtful, talented artists who work toward expertly handling materials, inspiration, genres, history and intention.A new way for art to be purchased and soldA new way to bring art to everyone who wishes it to be a part of their lifeA new way to see the SOPH is everywhere, is there and is nowhere.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part Six:  The Dreaming of Jewelry—

a world’s cultures and possibilities

on your wrist, finger, neckline or ear

“The Dream is real; waking life is only a dream within a greater dream.”—Ed Abbey

 

 

The Center Shop brings the ideas from each of the previous rooms together in the Sense of Place Dreamers’ artworks. Handmade jewelry and other crafts begin a revolution of connection to inner and outer wilderness places. Jewelry made from historic and current materials and techniques from around the world was created to connect places and their histories and to revolutionize the way we perceive our place in the world.  The jewelry artists in SOPH explored these ideas through their use of materials sourced from around the world, their methods in producing extraordinary one of a kind pieces and their thinking about places and moments which influence and inspire their art. 

 

The Dreaming Artists

Artists who dream the greater dream of waking life

 

Liz Alcyone

Gina Borglum

Char Gilman

Eleanor Gryzbowski

Le Hac

Vicki Milewski

Cory O’Brien

Elijah Thaxter

 

Jewelry artist Gina Borglum considers the history of her materials while creating new styles to wear by placing a buffalo head nickel on a hand dyed elk suede with antique glass beads from 1700’s Venice along with Native American trade beads sourced from Midwest art collections.  These are the beads that were used as currency between Native American tribes and frontiers people Borglum gently makes a statement about the loss, the interaction and the chances to create a better future which is the “partnership of sight” she proposes.  These ideas of revolution through connection are also found in Char Gilman’s series of jewelry pieces called Yellow Wallpaper based on Charlotte Perkins’[xx] short story “The Yellow Wallpaper”.  Gilman’s use of yellow jade and a green-yellow Chrysoprase along with yellow glass and ceramic milleflore beads from the 1800’s connects to this short story and joins the hundred year revolution connecting the wilderness of marriage and family reforms that currently are being experienced and could cause society to completely change just as Perkins hoped it would a hundred years ago.

 

Elijah Thaxter sees a different way to liberate through connection in his work with Native American trade beads from the early 1900’s that he harmonizes with orange calcites and carnelians—seeing beauty and a communion of hues as connection points that can bring about personal revolutions that could lead to connecting the wilderness of color from a more intimate perspective which could then lead to personal revolutions.  It is in these revolutions of color that Thaxter brings his “partnership of sight” into a simple, uncluttered way of seeing and experiencing jewelry.

 

Wisconsin artist Cory O’Brien’s wearable art in her Pripyat, Ukraine Collection utilizes topographic realities abstracted thru experience in her jewelry pieces influenced by the town of Pripyat, Ukraine now deserted because of Chernobyl [xxi] The topography of Pripyat is remembered and through the connection of memory is liberated since nature was able to reclaim a small part of this earth due to the nuclear accident.  This liberation of a new frontier begins the process of healing and discovering what might be next for the area.

 

The SOPH jewelry artists alchemize the ideas of wilderness, revolution, connection in reference to their sense of place being liberated in order to create a new cultural awareness—a new frontier of place.   The creation of these beautiful pieces shows that art can bring a meaningful interaction between viewer, artist and object in a shared “partnership of sight”.   Abbey wrote that “The Dream is real; waking life is only a dream within a greater dream.” The Dreaming of Jewelry is one of those greater dreams. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part Seven Conclusion

Liberation:  Aesthetic Experience Revolutions

 

SOPH displays artists creating a new frontier of place with their art so that each viewer may discover this new frontier and see the wilderness beyond.  Through a “partnership of sight” between artists and viewers each artwork may be seen and connected with creating this new frontier of place in front of each artwork—this can be seen as the beginning of a revolution in aesthetic experience.

 

Abbey suggests going into the “back of beyond”, the frontier or even better wilderness places inside and outside in order to prepare for the revolution bent toward making things better for everyone and everything.  SOPH curators borrowed Abbey’s ideas of who traditionally goes into the “back of beyond”:

< >The explorers who begin the process of culture and society as seen in Galaudet Gallery’s AnteroomThe hunters and warriors whose art is seen in their ability to protect and provide sustenance for every culture as seen in Galaudet Gallery’s Tower RoomThe shamans and wizards whose art is made with a “sympathetic magic” so that connections can be made  between people and others and wilderness and beyond as seen in Galaudet Gallery’s Bay Room The revolutionaries and farmers who are like the hunters and warriors in that they protect and provide sustenance for every culture using “practical magic” as seen in Galaudet Gallery’s Studio RoomAnd the dreamers are needed—which is really everyone who believes in themselves and the idea that culture is important, that art has a place in everyday life as seen in Galaudet Gallery’s Center Shop[xxii]

 

And just as Mircea Eliade threw open questioning beyond how we see art today with his statement “what is meant by freedom.”  when last year’s exhibit also was found to have liberation tendencies; so too Abbey brings forth questioning and a resolute charm asking for a simplification:

Perhaps Meaning is not of primary importance.  What is important is the recognition of art, wherever we may discover it, in whatever form. 

 

NOTES

 

[i] The digital revolution has similarities to the industrial revolution which inspired the original Arts and Crafts Movement.  Each year judges and curators will move toward the last year, NOWHERE, inspired by the founder of the Arts and Crafts Movement in 1850 William Morris and his novel about a utopian society News from Nowhere read with 21st Century thinking.

 

[ii] The My Medicine Art Series had four years of exhibits:  Part One:  My Medicine Art Show, Part Two:  Connections, Part Three: New Medicine and Part Four:  East Meets West.  The final two years have online exhibition catalogs to be found at https://issuu.com/galaudetgalleryllc

 

[iii] Beyond the Wall:  Essays from the Outside by Edward Abbey will be used with a focus on Abbey’s essay “Desert Images” from this collection for Sense of Place: HERE.  Beyond the Wall will inform all of Galaudet Gallery’s curatorial decisions during their art exhibits for 2018 with Abbey’s idea of the “back of beyond” being of primary focus in that the curators will create “back of beyond” experiences in their exhibit designs.  A “back of beyond” experience is one which elicits authentic responses to self and art as well as embracing the idea that a wilderness ethic is a chance to know who we are alone, as part of a family as part of a community and as part of this world and beyond.

 

[iv] Northern Front:  New and Selected Essays by John Hildebrand was used by curators and not the judges.  The curators thought it a good idea to include a writer known to the community where the gallery is located and a writer who looks into a sense of place and sees a vanishing wilderness and one where this loss may redefine an individual’s senses of where they are of what their sense of place means as well as challenging what it means to be “local”.

 

[v] The Studio Reader:  On the Space of Artists edited by Mary Jane Jacob and Michelle Grabner is a collection of essays written by both artists and art critics about the artist studio experience in the 21st Century.  It is a thoughtful homage to the traditional artist studio that has been in place for hundreds of years and a harbinger of contemporary studio use.  Having a dedicated, singular place within which an artist makes artworks for specific purposes is almost as vanished as the wilderness Hildebrand and Abbey look for.  In this transition Galaudet Gallery and its curators recognize that a change is underway for the traditional gallery space as only a place where art is sold.  Through the next four years of the art series Sense of Place the gallery and curators will explore this transition in order to assist both art collectors and artists to still meet, sell and barter and enjoy art and make a living as has been the role of the gallery in the past; however, valuation, expectations and how these exchanges take place is what may be the most changed in future.

 

[vi] Galaudet Gallery’s working definition is that aesthetic experience is not based upon any one person’s education, knowledge, experiences or sensitivities; instead, an aesthetic experience can arise from simply viewing art and having a response.  Many philosophers feel that response should be a positive one, but conceptual art has taught that aesthetic experiences can also be negative—it is heightened response to an artwork. 

 

A response to art can also be seen as a heightened awareness of an experience one is having at a specific time and specific place that can carry on after leaving that time and place or be recalled through imagery.

 

Galaudet Gallery does not discount the space where an artwork is viewed as intensifying an aesthetic experience and that is one reason they have worked tirelessly to curate art exhibits within a Victorian Mansion that can produce its own aesthetic experience and so then lend itself to the artworks exhibited.

 

The idea of an aesthetic experience has only recently been articulated as such; however, the idea of this experience has been around since the beginning of recorded history and was thoroughly discussed in ancient Greece.

 

In December’s 2013 edition of Frontiers in Neuroscience  Edward A. Vessel, G. Gabrielle Starr and Nava Rubin discussed the current neuroscience research being done in aesthetic experience in their essay “Art reaches within: aesthetic experience, the self and the default mode network”  saying, “In recent years, we have learned a considerable amount from brain imaging studies about the neural correlates of aesthetic experience and how they relate to sensory, reward, and emotion neural processes.”

 

In a 2006 rendition of the Encyclopedia of Philosophy Thomson Gale traces the more recent history of aesthetic experiences beginning with his definition:  “Aesthetic experience involves more than preference, encompassing a variety of emotional responses ranging from beauty to awe, sublimity, and a variety of other (often knowledge-based) emotions.”  But it is the ideas from a major influence of Galaudet Gallery curator Vicki Milewski that will suffice for this endnote as described by Gale, “John Dewey (1958), for example, argues that aesthetic experiences are the most complete, the richest, and the highest experiences possible. One is actively engaged and conscious of the world's effect on one but at the same time appreciative of one's possibilities for acting on the world.”

 

It is that movement inside a viewer of art that Galaudet Gallery aspires to, not only is it a movement produced by artwork but it is a movement inside a viewer of art that tells the viewer their actions upon the world will be met with success.

 

[vii] Architect Louis Sullivan revolutionized architectural design through his theories involving nature as the primary inspiration and in construction methods which has left a designation on Sullivan as the father of the modern skyscraper.  But it is Sullivan’s philosophical writings and designs which lead Michael Milewski’s work into furthering Sullivan’s ideas and creating a new philosophy of architecture which is based upon common sense, careful study of nature and contemporary notions of beauty while still using natural materials whenever possible.

 

[viii] Sympathetic resonance is a harmonic phenomenon when a formerly passive instrument responds to external vibrations to which it has a harmonic likeness. The classic example is demonstrated with two similar tuning-forks of which one is mounted on a wooden box.  When one is struck the other, unstruck, starts to vibrate.

 

[ix] Human bodies are often exposed to vertical vibrations when they are in the workplace or on vehicles. Prolonged exposure may cause undue stress and discomfort in the human body especially at its resonant frequency. By testing the response of the human body on a vibrating platform, many researchers found the human whole-body fundamental resonant frequency to be around 5 Hz. However, in recent years, an indirect method has been proposed which appears to increase the resonant frequency to approximately 10 Hz. A definition of human natural frequency in terms of vibration magnitude is proposed. From a transcript titled, “Discussion of human resonant frequency” by John Brown, James M. W. and Zheng, Xiahua found in Proceedings of the SPIE, Volume 4317

 

[x] Said by International Art Collector and one of the judges for SOPH Jules Heffe.

 

[xi] The idea of absorption and “an antitheatrical tradition that lay at the heart of the evolution of French painting between the” mid 1700’s thru to the mid 1800’s is an idea from Michael Fried as first found in his essay “Caillebotte’s Impressionism” found in Gustave Caillebotte and the Fashioning of Identity in Impressionistic Paris edited by Norma Broude.     Minami’s The Homework Hour in SOPH brings to mind these ideas  and “that there is no one present before the canvas which could be the “defeat” of “theatricality” in painting since theater needs an audience.  The extension of this idea in that the artist also causes this defeat by incorporating himself into the work while also showing the process of his work is quite compelling.

 

[xii] Ibib

 

[xiii] Charles Constant Albert Nicolas (mid 1800’s)  otherwise known as Bertall was an illustrator and writer who liked to poke fun at his fellow artists like Gustave Caillebotte who he said didn’t really understand perspective (ahyperbolic statement since early Caillebotte works were all about perspective) but that Caillebotte’s “originality would lose something” if he used perspective like everyone else.  Bertall was referring to the use of an altered perspective which Caillebotte used as if he were “debout sur une échelle” in order to paint his subjects.

 

[xiv] Ideas about “reshaping the world” come from Michael Marrinan’s essay “Caillebotte as Professional Painter: From the Studio to the Public Eye” found in Gustave Caillebotte and the Fashioning of Identity in Impressionistic Paris edited by Norma Broude.  Marrisnan writes, “…for Caillebotte the act of seeing has the power to reshape the world without draining it of physical matter, emotional force or psychological texture…”  He also writes that because of this reshaping “…it is clear that we do not see everything.” Which is how the curators for SOPH saw Chris Maher’s Fall Door which led to the creation of the “wall of doors” within the exhibit.

 

[xv] A revolution is only as good as the remembrance of history in order to change the future that the current history prescribes.  Also in this revolutionary liberation of art is the base where art is made traditionally known as the artist studio (for which Galaudet Gallery’s Studio Room is named) and in which the anthology The Studio Reader… posits has changed as art making has changed and yet has kept the useful procedures and pieces from historical studios much as a revolution need to keep what is working in order to create anew.  Artists dreaming is like the sun rising since it happens every day.  In these dreams artists not only examine and explore our current state of culture, they also vision into the next by creating forms and meanings that may only be fully understood in the future but are also appreciated HERE, today, in the place of this exhibit in Galaudet Gallery where dreaming is free and supported and each exhibit moves closer to actualizing the revitalization of a 21st century Arts and Crafts Movement.  Galaudet Gallery is planting seeds created by Shamans, seeds gathered by Warriors, seeds planted by the artists who know how to bring a dream, a creation, into physical reality while still charting maps in all the other dimensions.

 

[xvi] Robert Storr’s essay “A Room of One’s Own, a Mind of One’s Own” in The Studio Reader:  On the Space of Artists also discusses how artist share their studio spaces: “The practice of combining work room with show room in the 19th Century …comes down to us..into the 21st Century essentially unchanged, such that many studios are conceived of in anticipation of the theatrical rituals of barring and then granting entrance to the mysterious precincts of creativity…”  and at the end of this essay Storr lays down his real bottom line about any artist’s studio it isn’t to be fetishized or idolized or meteorologically forecasted so one can be present when lightning strikes; instead, “There is nothing mysterious about this, since artists must be pragmatic even when they pretend not to be or do the best they can to disguise themselves and conceal their process.  The mystery and the marvel is in the work.  The rest is contingent reality and real estate.”

 

[xvii] Pierre J. Redoute (1759—1840) was the primary artist for Galaudet Gallery’s Choix Roses (Winter 2017).  Redoute worked through three different revolutions in France and was uninvolved with the fighting and at times his practice of documenting the roses and other flowers of France secured him safety.

 

[xviii] Oscar Howe (1915—1983) is the artist who inspired Galaudet Gallery’s first art series in their space in Eau Claire, WI with his belief that his art was “his medicine”.  As a Yanktonai Dakota artist from South Dakota, Howe became well known for his casein and tempera paintings and is credited with influencing contemporary Native American art and other contemporary artists like Vicki Milewski.

 

[xix] Paul Klee (1879—1940) was an artist who at first found agreement with German Expressionists but eventually moved closer to the Surrealists.  Klee felt that Transcendentalism could instruct artists in creating artworks which could activate or uncover other dimensional realities and places.  Klee felt all the arts could serve this purpose.  His use of design, pattern, color, and miniature sign systems all speak to his efforts to employ art as a window onto that philosophical principle.

 

[xx] Charlotte Perkins (1860—1935) was a prominent American feminist, sociologist, novelist, writer and a lecturer for reforming marriage and family. She was a utopian feminist and served as a role model for future generations of feminists because of her unorthodox concepts and lifestyle. Her best remembered work today is her semi-autobiographical short story "The Yellow Wallpaper". Which uses domestic symbols to accentuate changes Perkins saw as needing to happen in the life of a marriage and in the relationship one has with self.

 

[xxi] The Chernobyl disaster was a catastrophic nuclear accident. It occurred in 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant near the now-abandoned town of Pripyat, in northern Ukraine.

 

[xxii] How we sense a place is our encoded response to who we are and as an identity forming moment we either identify with an abstract, geographic place or we choose to get to know ourselves and form our identity thru experiences with place.  We consciously strategize the next era of art moving from contemporiety and thru futurism (which in its very naming meant we could not experience it in the HERE and now since it is the future) and coming to grips with a new way to see and make art that of the experience or present moment.  Our support of illegal immigrants who break the rule of law which is the foundation of our country’s allure is more a support of revolution in our sense of place since our world society strains to move into a global Sense of Place instead of a local sense of place and as we suggest country boundaries should fall we are really saying it is time to move into a new frontier of global place. Our fear in this movement is that once a fully formed global culture has been built the necessary next step is exploration in the wilderness known as our current universe.

 

 

The walk, the hills, the sky…

they will grow larger, sweeter,

lovelier in the days and years

to come.

—Edward Abbey

 
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