Finding deeper meaning through artist statements

by Peggy Flora Zalucha

Blue Sphere, Nancy Lamers , oil on canvas, 72" x 48"
WP&S has been creating exhibitions for the Wisconsin Academy’s Steenboch Gallery for well over two years now. Over 300 pieces of art have been exhibited by a fine representation of artists from all chapters. One of the aspects of these exhibitions that makes it so interesting for the viewers is the book of statements. At our most recent opening, one visitor walked around telling people to view the show carefully… then go around again with the book of statements to refer to. “What a revelation”, she said. Artwork that may seem to have no reference to the piece next to it suddenly becomes relevant. The theme stitches together the visions of the many artists.
The statements are of vital importance to the selection committee. They assist the committee in knowing how the artwork fits in. Some artists chose to be brief, some to wax eloquent. Either way, it is a great help. Some artists don’t bother or just give a non-statement such as “I did this while in Door County.” These are neither helpful nor pertinent.
As an example, I’m including three images that were included in the “Time” show. One, “New York Minute” is an obvious time reference. “Extinction” is also easily categorized by the viewer into a “time” theme, but the artists’ thoughts add to the depth of the piece. “Blue Orb” is not a self-evident candidate for “Time”. The statement takes the viewer into the mind of the artist, giving a sense of time, mood, and motivation. Not many exhibitions give the artist an opportunity to illuminate their work with words. This is just one more reason why the Side by Side Exhibitions at the Wisconsin Academy’s Steenboch Gallery are so valuable.

Note: All images and statements are available on line at
www.gallerywisconsin.com

Blue Sphere, Nancy Lamers , oil on canvas, 72" x 48" New York Minute, Chuck Weber, oil/pannel, 22" x 30" Extinction ,Jane C. Scharer, Etching, 28" x 22.5"

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