I hate openings, especially when I am in them. I always feel like I'm in a performance. The interactions with people at the opening, the work on display never feels done when put out to the world, if someone asks a question about the work on display, or worse, ask about my work specifically.
I just want to drink wine and talk about something else. The weather is always a good place to take any conversation.
But I perform.
I'm easy going, so it doesn't feel like anxiety at the time, but afterwards.... oh, afterwards - big time!
I always feel I should've said something different or explained a point better or just been..... well....smarter.
Or I wished I never decided to exhibit that piece of..... ok I won't go where I was going to go with that thought because I'll likely lose sleep for performing out that sentance on this here keyboard later.
Last week, while I was on campus photographing an event for the college, I was fortunate enough to stumble my way into the gallery to physically experience this show which, sadly, isn't open to the public because of COVID guidelines at the school.
So I feel pretty lucky, even though they were still finishing installation, I got to experience this pretty sensory touching show.
This show has a lot of sound. If you are sensitive to sound this will give you another type of anxiety. I have a bit of this kind of sensitivity, but am able to allow myself to convert it to white noise when needed. So as I walked the exhibition I was in and out of consciousness in many ways as the sounds filtered in and out of my head.
The boldness of imagery allowed me quiet moments as my mind put the sounds into the background. I realized when odd or disturbing imagery popped in front of my eyes, my ears would again activate and I'd start the process all over again dealing with the chaos of sound in the room.
So it effectively took me, as a viewer, in and out of my own anxieties even though I wasn't under the gun to perform other than chatting briefly with artist Eric Charlton and gallery director Paula Burliegh as I made a few photographs. It is an interesting installation.
I wanted to tune into the virtual panel discussion Tuesday night to learn more about the work and the artists, but sadly I could not break away from other work I was doing. Fortunately gallery director extraordinaire Burliegh recorded it and posted so we can all view it.
Please see that video below and also the virtual tour by Derek Li. Also the show discription.
This absence of community sparks feelings of isolation and, in turn, the desire for more attention. We do not fear performance, we perform because of anxiety.
We inhabit a vast digital landscape that encompasses everything from the excessive positivity of Pinterest to the violent rhetoric of the dark web--two extreme but not necessarily opposing examples. Eric D. Charlton, Taha Heydari, and Wednesday Kim interrupt this constant background of digital noise to examine the ways in which it wields power and influence over its participants.
Charlton grapples with internalized pressure to self-optimize and perform happiness. Frozen and repeated, the laughter and smiles throughout his mixed media works are disquieting--even sinister.
Heydari’s paintings consider platforms and audience: where in space do digital performances occur, and for whom? Gridded and pixelated marks on his paintings’ surfaces suggest errors in transmission--glitches that obscure the message but reveal the medium.
Kim mines the collective anxiety experienced by a culture that equates public self-revelation with authenticity. Her digital animations display absurd and obsessive imagery that both reveals and obscures their creator, exploring the nature of self-expression in the digital sphere.
Take a tour through this video below:
This exhibition is supported in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Below the artists discuss their works in a virtual panel discussion that was live Tuesday evening.
For more information and photographs of the exhibition visit the link below: