In an age of unprecedented information consumption, it’s easy to lose sight of humanity.
In our community, critical discourse about how we treat each other often gets caught up in the “hot-button” topic that overwhelms our daily lives. and lose the ability to see, think and hear. It’s as if all the “information noise” in the world is robbing us of our ability to empathize with one another.
Art in all its forms can provide mental and emotional space so people can digest and think about what the artist is trying to relate to. Those who choose to attend the exhibition get the opportunity to reflect beyond what we see on our myriad screens.
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The ‘Mark of Empowerment’ exhibition was announced as part of the 2022 Central American Print Council biennial conference ‘Power of Print’ held in mid-October by the Kent State University School of Fine Arts in partnership with the University of Akron’s Cleveland Institute. rice field. Art, Zygote Press, Morgan School of Music.
Curated by Roberto Torres Mata, the exhibition “reflects how prints act to advocate for activism. We challenge injustice, social inequality, civil rights violations and colonialism.”
The exhibition’s strength lies in the beauty and skill of the artwork, along with the artist’s subject matter. Emily Davis, University of Akron Her gallery is filled with expressive, colorful, highly significant and thoughtful works, and walking through the gallery is breathtaking.
“Burning Water, California’s Prophetic History”
“Burnt Water, A Prophetic History of California” by Los Angeles-based artist Israel Campos is one of the standout works in the exhibition.
Presented like a Mayan codex, the work is filled with brightly colored illustrations and pays tribute to the Maya in the artist’s style of illustration and the way the work folds like an accordion.
It’s not always easy to understand everything that is said in this piece, but the fact that you’re looking at a detailed piece crafted like a Mayan codex is a lively commentary in itself. The Spaniards burned most of their writings.
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In “Burnt Water,” Campos uses earth-toned colors for the background of all images, and bright colors for most of the subjects depicted throughout the story to make the images stand out.
The artist’s style helps draw the eye through the length of the piece, keeping you hooked and wanting to see more.
“Survival Series 11/12”
“Survival Series 11 and 12” are two haunting creations by artist Monty Little. I’m Dine (Navajo) from Tuba City, Arizona. He is also a former US Marine.
In these prints the central image is obscured by an overlaid image of water and a black cross or plus sign that is repeated in both works. The cross pattern is a traditional Navajo pattern, and water plays an important role in Navajo culture, so there is a cultural reference here.
Little’s work relates to what feels like a deeply personal experience. The obscured view of each subject makes history feel clouded or even erased. It’s as if the artist is trying to help us see, but that’s no longer possible, so we can’t bring things into full focus.
“The Way Things Are”
Entitled “The Way Things Are,” a series of four dynamic Cincole etchings by Dakota Mace help bring voice to the artist’s subject matter. Each etching features the same image of an elderly person sitting in front of a written wall. The work on the far left is very detailed as shown in the photo. Moving from left to right, each portrait loses detail, but the letters are legible.
These works are offset by walls painted orange. This may seem like a minor addition, but it helps draw attention to the piece and the part of the gallery where it is displayed.
“No one is illegal”
Some of the strongest works in this exhibition are a series of prints on handmade bags by artist Carlos Barbarena.
“No Human is Illegal” features an image of a migrant worker carrying potatoes in a five-gallon bucket. The image has a patterned background and is framed in a Rococo frame with the title of the work written on the underlying scroll. The whole composition is like a shopping bag.
It’s a pretty overt commentary on capitalism, wealth, and how we sustain our economy and politics. and helps to humanize the subject matter.
The ‘Mark of Empowerment’ does more than give visitors a ‘moment’ to contemplate reality through an unfamiliar lens. It also gives voice to people who are often left behind by traditional means of gathering information.
The importance of visual arts communication skills in an exhibition like this cannot be overemphasized, as the curator states, “Challenge the status quo, prevent systemic injustice, and reject institutions.” It is not.
Anderson Turner is the Director of Collections and Galleries at Kent State University’s School of Fine Arts. Please contact email@example.com.
show: mark of empowerment
Where: Emily Davis Gallery, University of Akron
when: Until December 20th
time: Monday – Friday 10am – 4:30pm
For more information: 330-972-6030 or uakron.edu/art/galleries