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ETSU Art Galleries

Department of Art & Design

POSITIVE/NEGATIVE 33
National Juried Art Exhibition

Juror: Margaret Winslow
Curator of Contemporary Art, Delaware Art Museum

March 1 to April 6, Slocumb Galleries
Reception & Juror's Lecture: March 29, Thursday, 5 p.m.,
lecture starts at 6 p.m., Ball Hall Auditorium

pn33 panorama

Positive/Negative: A Proposition

In 1985, the Guerrilla Girls’ first poster campaign saw the inequalities of the art world plastered on walls throughout New York City’s SoHo neighborhood. The feminist, activist art group spelled out in bold graphics the disproportionate pay, critical coverage, presentation, and gallery representation experienced by women. No institution escaped their scrutiny—publishing enterprises, commercial galleries, institutions of higher learning, and museums. Their work has continued over the past 33 years, addressing issues of systemic inequalities and producing works of art that “expose gender and ethnic bias as well as corruption in politics, art, film, and pop culture.” Humorous and pointed visuals have adorned billboards, New York City subway cars, arts print media, and have become the subject of survey exhibits.

Similarly, the Slocumb Galleries’ Positive/Negative National Juried Art Exhibition began 33 years ago as a proposition. In Johnson City, Tennessee, a “platform for dialogue to promote diversity, creative excellence, and critical thinking within the academic and local communities” was created, and as with every good intention, the work remains as critical today as it did in 1985. This year’s selections represent those core concerns—variety, excellence, concept—and encourage contemplation, social dialogue, and in some cases, action. The resulting exhibition signifies the range in style, subject matter, and media seen in the 2018 submissions. In making these selections, I strove to identify works of the highest quality in regards to both form and content. Similarly, I paid equal attention to all the various media I found represented—drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, video, and interdisciplinary practices. The show is representative of the myriad styles and themes occupying the collective conscious and aims to showcase the diverse contemporary art practices found today.

Positive/Negative: A Place Between

Many of the works of art on view recall a similar theme—the narrowness of difference. Difference as the ultrathin space amid two seemingly oppositional ideas, such as positive and negative. Where is the transition between action and stasis, fear and pleasure, land and sky, self-sacrifice and success, figuration and abstraction, internal and external? A tension exists when a form reveals its interior, a shadow highlights a shape, chaos exposes order, a cage implies freedom, or the macroscopic depicts the microscopic. Various philosophies seek to elucidate this intangible concept, describing the often complementary and necessary existence of oppositional forces. This exhibition illustrates a similarly essential impulse.      

Some participating artists investigate built forms laid onto the natural landscape. Various modes of painting show shifts from representational figuration and gestural abstraction, on occasion existing within the same composition. Other artists address the movements of groups of people—displaced by political changes and upheaval—or the anxieties that arise when racism produces unequal and unjust treatment of people of color. Still others examine the Anthropocene and an increasingly tenuous relationship between human activities on this planet and the impact of those endeavors on flora and fauna. What is revealed is an ongoing consideration of opposites and the innumerable places between. A proliferation of subtle and nuanced gestures in contemporary art today creates openings for this consideration. Perhaps it is there, in the delicate spaces amid various and at times divergent notions, where creative practices, and the resulting works of art, foster engagement and encourage interchange.   

Margaret Winslow, P/N 33 Juror
Curator of Contemporary Art, Delaware Art Museum

Positive/Negative 33

Best of Show
'Promised Land' by Farimah Eshraghi, MA


Honorable Mention

Valerie Fuchs, KY
Eric Lubrick, IN
Tom Stephens, CO
Yingqi Zhao, IN


P/N 33 Artists

Laura Baszynski, MI
Gary Beeber, NY
Susan Beiner, AZ
Katlyn Brumfield, KY
Phillip Chen, IA
Brent Cole, IN
Pamela DeLaura, MI
William Dooley, AL
Nicholas Fedak II, CA
Daisie Hoitsma Young, OH John Kinsland, TN
Chase Lawrence, GA
Andy Mattern, OK
Noritaka Minami, IL
Joshua Newth, MO
Cynthia Norton, KY
Sophia Park, IL
Joseph Paushel, OH
Sarah Perkins, MO
Winter Rusiloski, TX
Doug Russell, WY
Ben Ryterband, MA
Jean Shon, NY
Brandon Smith, KY
Patrick Vincent, MN
Andrea Welton, CA
Beverly West Leach, AL Charisse Weston, TX

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