A two part exhibition at 18th Street Arts Center explores artists’ reactions to the pandemic and document their experience of it, while offering coping mechanisims and beacons of hope. I have been honored to participate.
July 27, 2020 – June 30, 2021
The role of the artist is exactly the same as the role of the lover. If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see.
– James Baldwin
“Art’s role in healing trauma, restoring a sense of self, and bringing together a community has led us to realize how artists are our second responders. Artmaking is a necessary part of life, and core to processing, expressing, reckoning, and healing. In a time of worldwide heartbreak, we are recognizing our interconnectedness to one another, and creation of art is one way we deepen our empathic networks. The selected works by these artists engage with worldwide feelings of darkness and loss, using art as a path to communal processing and healing.”
Collective – “The only way out is through”
“Hopes and Fears and…”, 2020. Textile samples and linen thread. 24.5” x 16.5”. Courtesy of the artist.
“Hopes and Fears and…” describes a state where the mind obsessively repeats what it fears, cloaked in the mantle of hope. Such a process is a way of dealing with darkness. Are not hope and fear intrinsically linked as two sides of the same coin? We fear, then we hope that the realization of our fears does not manifest. All the hopes and fears stitched into this work are born of the state of our world, planet, society, and culture, and are voiced by many across the globe. This piece gives voice to those voices as well as my own.
BUILDING NETWORKS OF EMAPTHY
October 26, 2020 – December 15, 2020
The exhibition Building Networks of Empathy is the second of a two-part show that asks us to consider the ways in which art empowers not only the artist, but its viewers to transform their most difficult experiences into enlightened outcomes. The first part of the show is an ongoing online-only exhibition entitled Facing Darkness, which encouraged artists in our community to reflect internally on our current moment of pandemic, isolation, and structural inequity laid bare.
For this second part, which will be physically installed in 18th Street Arts Center’s spacious Airport campus hangar galleries, artists were asked to respond to how they have changed as a result of their inner reflections on darkness, and to imagine new futures and societal structures as we see our way out of crisis. Each artist grapples as well with the role that art can play in social reflection, expression, and cultural paradigm shifts as a result of a deeper understanding of each other, and the empathy that follows. The exhibition sees empathy not only as a way to share and understand what others are going through, but also as a natural and endless resource that we can all rely on when crisis and emergency hit, with hopes that we can turn this moment of collective fear into a sublime experience.
I was commissioned to create an interactive book for Craft Contemporary’s 2017 exhibition, Chapters: Book Arts in Southern California, which opened shortly after the 2016 presidential election. Visitors could choose file cards in an array of colors, draw and write on them, and insert them into the pocketed pages of the book. A range of feelings, responses, and concerns were expressed through the cards, which the Museum Staff saved and gave to me at the end of the show. I stitched them together grouped loosely by theme, to express the network of empathy they depicted, held together by golden thread.