A New Subjectivity: Figurative Painting after 2000
FL3TCH3R Exhibit: Social and Politically Engaged Art
A New Subjectivity
Exhibition looks at Expressionism in new way;
Reece offers tours for low vision, blind patrons
For the first time ever, the Reece Museum at East Tennessee State University is offering a gallery tour specifically designed for the low vision and blind community – for the traveling exhibit A New Subjectivity: Figurative Painting after 2000.
“This exhibition, composed entirely of paintings by women, attempts to categorize Expressionism in new terms,” says exhibition curator Jason Stopa. The exhibition, from Pratt Manhattan Gallery in New York, features female artists Gina Beavers, Katherine Bernhardt, Katherine Bradford, Jackie Gendel, Liz Markus and Rose Wylie.
On Tuesday, Oct. 24, at 5:30 p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 28, at 1 p.m., Reece Museum docents will lead tours for the low-vision and blind community. These free tours will include verbal descriptions of the works and hand-held tactile boards of the paintings. “We see outreach to underserved communities as an ongoing responsibility of the Reece,” says Reece Museum Director Randy Sanders.
Link for Low Vision and Blind Tour Scripts: https://soundcloud.com/user-602373506
All patrons will be able to experience these 12 large-scale paintings by the six contemporary women painters free of charge through Dec. 15.
The exhibition has received positive reviews. “In a lively group show of large canvases at the Pratt Manhattan Gallery, curator Jason Stopa makes a strong case that contemporary painters, particularly those working figuratively, are cultivating a new form of Expressionism,” says Sharon Butler on Two Coats of Paint website. “He cites popular culture (cartoons, fashion photography, YouTube videos), personal narrative, and our embrace of online life as the driving forces behind this new direction …
“Made in-the-moment, what Stopa calls ‘performative,’ rather than as the result of research or philosophical query, these paintings hint at narrative direction and critical perspective, but ultimately beg for an emotional response to the handling of the paint and choice of image. With Expressionism, articulating deeper meaning is optional.”
In what Stopa calls a significant return to figuration or figurative painting, this “new subjectivity” is “equally invested in the language of abstraction – the drip, the gesture, and color as experience,” he says. “Some have made paintings from subject matter that has been historically considered unfit: cartoons, fashion spreads and personal narrative. Their work, and arguably the role of Expressionism itself, is often to create divisive space within painting, leaving gaps for the viewer to create structure and meaning.”
A New Subjectivity is a good show for the special accommodations and for those who do not require the additional assistance, says exhibitions coordinator Spenser Brenner. “a lot of the techniques that are being implemented by these artists can really be appreciated by students of art and lovers of art. I can say this, generally it is a loud show. There’s bright colors. It’s an almost eclectic kind of show as far as how these women paint.”
“You really have to think outside the box whenever you’re trying to describe a color to someone who has never seen a color to someone who potentially has never seen a color, or give people frames of references. You might say, ‘It’s as big as a bus,’ but how big is that bus? You might instead say, ‘Maybe it’s the size of three of your beds’ or something like that. It has been great to have to sort of get outside ourselves in creating the low-vision materials.”
Auditory scripts are being developed by the Reece staff. These scripts will be recorded and made available on the museum’s website. A digital music player will also be available during A New Subjectivity’s run for those low vision and blind visitors who are unable to attend the October 24 and October 28 tours.
Saro Lynch-Thomason and Reece student worker Jill Childress are designing composition boards for the twelve paintings and will also create a few surface boards for the more textured paintings.
On Thursday, Nov. 9, at 5 p.m., Stopa will give a free curator’s talk in the Reece Museum that will be followed by a reception for the curator and patrons.
“Jason is an artist, as well as a writer and a journalist and, like many artists, pieces together a lot of different things to make their living,” says Anita DeAngelis, director of exhibition co-sponsor Mary B. Martin School of the Arts. “We are not only excited to hear his presentation on A New Subjectivity, but to have him at ETSU to talk with our Art & Design students.”
A New Subjectivity: Figurative Painting after 2000 will be on display at the Reece Museum through Friday, Dec. 15. The museum is open M-F, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Other hours are on case-by-case basis.
For more information about transportation needs for the low vision and blind tours, please call the ETSU Office of Disability Services at 423-439-8346. For information about the A New Subjectivity exhibition, please call the Reece Museum at 423-439-4392 or visit www.etsu.edu/reece. For more information on Mary B. Martin School of the Arts, visit www.etsu.edu/martin.
Art from the Heart
FL3TCH3R Exhibit for Social and Politically Engaged Art:
2017 work communicates emotions, frustration, darkness of times
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – Social and news media are full of commentary on the issues and condition of the world, but often appropriate conversations are few. The fifth annual FL3TCH3R Exhibit at ETSU’s Reece Museum, opening Monday, Oct. 9, invites works in varied media that “reflect current issues that affect contemporary culture and investigate societal and political concerns” – and conversations inevitably follow.
“There was such a variety of subject matter, but I felt that a lot of the work came from the heart,” says 2017 exhibit juror Anita Kunz. “It felt emotional to me. A lot of it felt to me as though it came from frustration at not having a better world … The work has meaning. A show like that will be powerful.
“There were whispers and there were shouts. There were big angry pieces and beautiful little subtle ones.”
Kunz, an internationally published and exhibited artist and illustrator, pored over 352 artworks from 132 artists from 30 United States and 10 countries. In 2016, there were 253 submissions and 63 selections exhibited. This year, Kunz selected 76 pieces by 55 artists from six countries and 21 U.S. states.
"The opportunity to host and, in a sense, collaborate with so many artists and their artworks from so many different perspectives and locations across the U.S. and internationally is such an exciting opportunity and honor," says Carrie Dyer, exhibit co-director.
The FL3TCH3R Exhibit: Social and Politically Engaged Art was established in 2013 by art professor Wayne Dyer, Barbara Dyer and Carrie Dyer in memory of their son and brother, Fletcher, an ETSU bachelor of fine arts senior in graphic design who passed away in 2009 at age 22 in a motorcycle accident.
Fletcher “liked to push people’s buttons and couldn’t understand why his friends weren’t more concerned about events going on in the world around them,” co-director Wayne Dyer says.
As a result, the FL3TCH3R international juried exhibit focuses on art that illustrates social and political topics, as well as helps fund the annual Fletcher H. Dyer Memorial Scholarship for an ETSU Art & Design student.
“We are also excited that the exhibit's fifth year has had such great participation,” says Barbara Dyer, also a co-director of the exhibit. “This means that we may be able to reach our first goal for the scholarship endowment … and within a year, can start offering an official award. We have already been offering small awards to students as we have been able. The endowment will be an everlasting source of scholarship funds available year after year in Fletcher’s name and memory.”
The growth in FL3TCH3R submissions and exhibited pieces has been consistent and encouraging, says Reece Exhibition Coordinator Spenser Brenner. “I can say this:” Brenner says, “I have to explain the idea of the FL3TCH3R Exhibit less each year. When someone comes in, I can say, ‘FL3TCH3R Exhibit and they’re like, ‘Oh, the political show.’ More and more, the name FL3TCH3R is being associated with this type of art. The identity of the show is really coming into its own.”
Socially and politically focused art is often difficult to make commercially viable, says art professor Anita DeAngelis, who directs Mary B. Martin School of the Arts at ETSU, a co-sponsor of the exhibit. “This particular exhibition gives us an opportunity to show that kind of work and provide an opportunity for artists to display it for others to see.”
Juror Anita Kunz, however, has found a niche making art that addresses social and
political issues. She has produced cover art for publications including Rolling Stone,
The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, Time Magazine, Newsweek, The Atlantic Monthly
and The New York Times Magazine. She has also illustrated more than 50 book jacket
Her works are in the permanent collections at the Library of Congress, the Canadian Archives in Ottawa, the McCord Museum in Montreal, The Norman Rockwell Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome, and a number of her Time Magazine cover paintings are in the permanent collection at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
A native of Canada – who has lived in London, New York and Toronto – Kunz has been named one of the 50 Most Influential Women in Canada by the National Post newspaper and appointed Officer of the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest civilian honor. She was inducted into the Museum of American Illustration Hall of Fame in New York earlier this year.
“Dr. Kunz has been delightful to work with and has brought a lot of passion and excitement to the selection process for the 2017 exhibit,” Barbara Dyer says. “Not only has she poured hours of work into the selection process, but she generously has agreed to be available to our ETSU Art & Design students and community by being on campus for one week, Oct. 23-27.”
During that visit to ETSU, Kunz will present a Juror’s Talk on Thursday, Oct. 26, at 5 p.m. in Reece Museum, to be followed by the exhibit reception at 6 p.m. The exhibit will be on display through Friday, Dec. 15.
The FL3TCH3R Exhibit also will provide additional opportunities for conversation through talks, discussions and other activities, Brenner says. Collateral events will be posted at www.etsu.edu/reece under Exhibitions.
“It’s a timely exhibit and as an artist myself, you don’t see as many opportunities in the art world, or in the world at large, to discuss or have a venue for these ideas, these opinions,” Brenner says. “A lot of times you’re discouraged from bringing up politics anywhere. You could be with the family. ‘Well, this is not the place, nor the time.’ You could be at work. ‘This is not the place, nor the time.’ But FL3TCH3R provides this platform.”
To the artists who submitted work for this year’s FL3TCH3R Exhibit, Kunz says, “At this time in our political climate your work is more important than ever. Keep going!
“Art can always challenge the status quo and make people think. It can encourage dialogue which I think this show will accomplish.”
For more information about Fletcher Dyer, visit http://fletcherdyer.com/about.html. For more information about the exhibit, visit http://www.FL3TCH3Rexhibit.com and for Reece Museum, visit www.etsu.edu/reece or call 423-439-4392. For more information on Mary B. Martin School of the Arts, visit www.etsu.edu/martin.