Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Colouring Outside The Lines

Recently I had the opportunity to curate a small group show in the back gallery at Artspace here in Peterborough. This show will be up until June 31, 2011 and runs in conjunction with the skateboard based large scale installation, ‘Wood Push Wood’ by Steve DeBruyn in the main gallery.
The show was titled, ‘Colouring outside the lines.’ The artists I got involved were Wes Loates, Smolik, Ian Hart and Zack Wood. In keeping with the theme these were guys that I had met through or had a connection to skateboarding or street art.
Below is my curatorial essay for the show, some photos, a link to the Artspace write up and a link to some opening night photos on the Electric City Art Lodge site. Check it out;

"The creation of images through the act of drawing and painting has been practiced from almost the beginning of human history. The accessibility of the medium has been key in maintaining its popularity as a fundamental means of expression. In its basic form nothing more then a surface and something capable of making a mark is required. It can be done on a wall in a public space, a found object, paper, and canvas, whatever is available.
Over thousands of years this activity evolved from the simplest means of recording and relaying information to the height of fine art, but in the latter part of the last century it seems to have fallen out of favor with the artistic elite, eclipsed by the rise of more conceptual work and the incorporation of new technologies as a medium.
Masters of the craft have had their work tagged with the label, ‘Lowbrow.’ Figurative painting and drawing has retreated from the spotlight in many publicly funded contemporary galleries but it remains far from becoming a lost art. Though it may have been lurking in the shadows it continues to be re-imagined by outsider artists in various subcultures taking on their subsequent aesthetics. Skateboarding, street art, tattooing and punk rock, many of the followers of these movements have found ways to adapt the trade to express the attitudes of their own adopted lifestyles.
Over the past 30 odd years back alleys, skateboards, record sleeves and skin had all become a new vessel to display art. As these subcultures have grown many have learned to embrace and foster these artistic manifestations selectively borrowing from tradition and giving rise to their own alternative exhibitions outside of the conventional gallery system. It is the DIY attitude that is at the very heart of all these movements which makes this possible. An unrestrained mindset, making those afflicted capable of using whatever is at hand to create and display their craft.
These artists are not deterred by a fringe status only driven by an impulsion to leave their mark. They don't need to question their motivation and their work speaks for itself. They pursue their goals unmediated by the influence of the conventional system, they are not necessarily focusing all their time writing proposals or applying for grants, placing more value on the idea then the output, they are in their studios, on the streets, at the kitchen table working on the finished product. Making marks, creating images, driven merely by the inherent need to share with others their interpretations of the world around them and practicing expression in its purest form.
Coloring outside the lines celebrates these drafters and painters that are committed to their medium, aesthetic and ideas. The artists chosen for this exhibition draw and paint because they have to. They paint what is inside them and not what is dictated by the esteemed institutions to be high art. Art is not their profession it is their way of life."

Artspace, Colouring Outside The Lines

Electric City Art Lodge, Colouring Outside The Lines

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