Monday, December 20, 2010

Curators' Statement

Geographical Divides:  Finding Common Ground examines Nevada’s unique visual culture.  In this exhibit, Nevada artists have organized a print exchange that would bring two separate groups together to share dialogue, ideas and purposes of Nevada culture in the hopes of understanding and fostering new levels of communication. Such as in any “peace-making” venture, the concept started with dialog that thought to juxtapose pop culture myths like “Area 51”, “The Biggest Little City in the World” and “Sin City” with the harsh reality that Nevada is a state comprised of two major metropolitan communities that is divided by 300 miles of vast desert and pockets of small rural towns.  There are notable differences in the style and content of art throughout the state and Nevada’s art communities are not separated by distance of travel alone. 

What better venue than to ask artists to start this level of communication through a project?  Historically, printmakers are artists who enjoy the sense of community that a printshop creates, and share their images, ideas and techniques with all.  They are also able to produce multiples, thus increasing their reach to individuals outside their immediate community in “exchanging” their work.  This assembly of printmakers—eight from the north, eight from the south— have produced two prints from each collaboration. Each artist produced an initial plate that was sent to their collaborating partner for further surface and conceptual additions, and then returned for completion. The particular processes and techniques were of the artists own choosing. Through their conversations, they were left free to interpret the idea of “Geographical Divides” as they wished.

Traditionally, artists are isolated creatures, working in private in their studios and workspaces, thinking their own thoughts, contemplating their own images.  No one else touches or alters that work.  Thus, in this collaboration, the chosen artists are asked to step out of their comfort zone, allowing little known individuals to alter, change, and mar their work.  Not an easy task.  On the flip note, this idea of changing someone else’s work, creates new possibilities and new resolutions to images, moving their artwork and concept beyond their traditional limits.  The collaborating artists receive dual benefit, flexing their own artistic minds, and reaching out to new members of the art community - starting a dialogue in the struggle to understand and create bridges where there had recently been chasms.

Collaborating artists include:  Maria Arango, Las Vegas/Lynn Schmidt, Reno; Erik Beehn, Las Vegas/Nolan Preece, Reno; Bobbie Ann Howell, Las Vegas/Galen Brown, Carson City; Daryl DePry, Las Vegas/Sharon Tetly, Carson City; Keith Conley, Las Vegas/Sidne Teske, Tuscarora; Anne Hoff, Las Vegas/Vicki LoSasso, Reno; Jeanne Voltura, Las Vegas/Candace Nicol, Reno; and Juan D. Varela, Las Vegas/Ashlea Clark, Reno

Geographical Divides: Finding Common Ground is curated by Anne Hoff, Professor of Art, College Southern Nevada and Candace Nicol, Director of Oxbow Press and Instructor at Truckee Meadows Community College. This exhibit is part of the Nevada Arts Council’s Nevada Touring Initiative–Traveling Exhibition Program, and is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Nevada State Legislature. The Nevada Arts Council is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs.


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