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Navigation and Intervention at Duck Creek

Tue, 06/04/2024 - 07:02
Karen May's "Untitled (D0288)," from 2017, mixed-media on a found art magazine page, will be at the Arts Center at Duck Creek in Springs.
NIAD (Nurturing Independence Through Artistic Development), Richmond, Calif.

The Arts Center at Duck Creek in Springs is opening two new exhibitions on Saturday: "Allison Gildersleeve: Breathing Underwater," in the John Little Barn, and "Karen May: Artforum Interventions" in the Little Gallery. A reception for both will be held that day from 5 to 7 p.m. 

"Breathing Underwater" includes several new works completed during Ms. Gildersleeve's recent residency at the Pouch Cove Foundation in Newfoundland, Canada. She has long pursued the representation of time and memory through abstract paintings of both landscapes and domestic interiors. 

In the context of the John Little Barn, says the gallery, the paintings echo the landscape of Duck Creek Farm, and "the compressed layers of its many lives: as our gallery, John Little's Studio, and a proud 20th-century grange hall."

"Painting is a kind of navigation for me, where the landmarks are moments in time," the artist has said. "I’m relying on recollections as trail markers to guide me through the process. Sometimes I begin with imagery from a room where I once lived, sometimes I start with the contents of my studio table, or I’ll locate the origins of the painting from a recent walk in the woods." 

An artist talk and a discussion of Visual Thinking Strategies -- an educational nonprofit and inquiry-based teaching method said to have changed museum education worldwide -- will take place on Sunday at 3 p.m. 

"Artforum Interventions" is a two-part exhibition in collaboration with NIAD (Nurturing Independence Through Artistic Development), presented at Duck Creek and in NIAD's archive of curated online exhibitions. NIAD’s visual arts studio program gives people with disabilities the skills and experience to express themselves, be independent, and earn income as artists.

Ms. May, who has been part of the program for over a decade, is a multimedia artist who works in collage, ceramics, drawing, painting, poetry, and fiber art. She likes to work with found text and frequently creates her own poetry in her daily life. 

She is always looking for source material, she has said. One such source is Artforum magazine, an influential art-world journal since 1962. In response to its advertisements, Ms. May complements and contrasts the underlying imagery. In one, for example, her activation of the negative space forms a mass of colorful objects, while in another she animates the empty white walls of the advertising gallery by mimicking its architecture with bright, wriggling marks.

According to a release, "This contrast between the magazine’s clean precision and May’s voracious, instinctive drawing underscores the gap between the genuine urge to create art, and the glossy presentation of that urge when it’s been packaged for sale."

The exhibitions will continue through July 7.

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