The Politics of ____ examines how art can ignite conversation between artist and viewer, viewer and viewer and viewer and self. The works exhibited move beyond what is assumed when thinking about political art. The show is PRESS’ first ever Call for Entries exhibition. Ten submissions were selected from a very competitive pool of entries resulting in a show that features eleven different artists from as far as Washington State and as near as Church Street, North Adams. See the gallery binder for additional artist information.
Inspired by the 1980’s Re-Flex song “The Politics of Dancing” The Politics of _________ asks how does the political enter artwork? Here political in art is defined as work created with the intention to spark conversation. It can be about dancing, government, love, privacy, whatever. But it must somehow explore the real and imagined ways of creating conversation.
Artists in the exhibit include:
- Allison Milham is a book artist, musician and founder of Great Basin Productions. Her work, Uluhaimalama; Legacies of Lili’uokalani, tells of the history of Hawai’i, and encourages the viewers to reconnect to their past, themselves and the world.
- C.J. Shane is a visual artist and writer who lives and works in Tucson, Arizona. She has been deeply influenced by the cultures of Mexico and China. Her exhibited work, The Migrants, shows the human tragedy that is caused by failed U.S. immigration policy along the U.S.-Mexican border.
- Elsi Vassdal-Ellis teaches design production at Western Washington University. Her exhibited works are part of the series Some Disheartening Thoughts. They either invite the reader to respond with an answer or to explore the statement.
- Erin Smith currently lives in Portland, ME and is establishing a career in visual and culinary arts and community building. Her bookworks, Pandora (maybe) and Not-Yet Elegies pay homage to a tenuous existence, in the face of human systems functioning beyond individual control.
- Frank Brannon is a native of Tennessee. His work, entitled Dorothy Field’s New Echota, Georgia, presents the book as a temple that holds words, and brings the viewer to question the abandonment of physical and palpable objects.
- John Vincent founded A Revolutionary Press in 2008 and since then has been experimenting with artistic methods of letterpress printing and disseminating radical and revolutionary ideals. His art seeks to leave the viewer with more questions than answers.
- Julie Russell-Steuart grew up in Maryland and publishes letterpress books under the imprint Caveworks Press. Her exhibited work, Throwaway, sparks an investigation into the culture of consumerism, and raises the question of the used up or thrown away, from technology to natural resources.
- Kent Manske is a conceptual printmaker and Professor of Art at Foothill College. Occupy is a personal response to the Occupy Movement of 2011. The Occupy disk rotates to 36 different ways an individual can occupy in their own being.
- Margo Lemieux holds a degree in fine arts from Boston University, and is currently an associate professor of fine arts at Lasell College, Newton. Her works, The Politics of the Back Yard and The Politics of Greed, raise the question of territory, and who it belongs to.
- Nanette Wylde is an artist, writer and cultural worker making socially reflective, language-based works. She teaches and heads the Digital Media/Electronic Arts Program at California State University, Chico. Her book On Judgment, questions the sources of political dominance and violence.
- Sara Farrell Okamura has been a working artist for over 26 years and is currently living in North Adams. Her exhibited work, part of the series Inflicted Anxiety, talks about brutality and madness, and asks the viewer, what consequences does living with horror have on both the victims and perpetrators?
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