As promised, here is a post about the “The 7 Borders, Mapping Kentucky’s Regional Identity” exhibition at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft in Louisville. My “Artist at Exit 0 Riverblog” has been a part of this show which opened on June 29 and runs through September 1. I’m honored to have been asked by KMAC and curator Joey Yates to participate especially since this is the first time my blogging activities have appeared in an art context. My display in the museum included a few small Styrofoam artifacts, a computer monitor on a table with chairs, a box for handwritten comments, and a label on the wall. Not quite your typical art offering. If, however, you think of the computer as a keyhole that you can peer through to a different reality…then you get transported to the world of the Artist at Exit 0 at the Falls of the Ohio State Park. At your fingertips are over 360 posts and more than 3500 images and my own peculiar blend of fact and fiction. Many of you who follow this blog have been nice enough to leave recent comments and I wonder if you realized that you were participating in this exhibition too? At the end of this post, I will add the comments that visitors left for me in the little box so that they can be a part of this exhibition record as well. For now, I would like to share some other images of the works that are (were) a part of this exhibition. Eighteen artists are participating in this exhibition. A few of the artists either currently live in Kentucky or are originally from here. The majority of the artists, however, live in the seven contiguous states that border the commonwealth, hence “The 7 Borders”. In the above image, works by Rashid Johnson are on the wall, while Brian McCutcheon’s whimsically modified cooking grill entitled “Trailer Queen II” rests on the floor. The exhibition is a survey of contemporary works produced in a geographical area that is often hard to define. At various times, Kentucky has been considered by Americans to be the frontier west, the Midwest, or the most northern of the southern states. The fact this region has been historically hard to place is attractive to me. For a professional artist, one downside is that the nearest art market of any size is in Chicago. Many of the artworks in “The 7 Borders” reference issues born of local conditions and landscapes and gain a certain power by not being made for strictly commercial reasons. The exhibit’s curator wrote: “Each of the artists represented is witness to varying views of the region focusing on personal history and collective experience.” In the gallery shot above are paintings by Claire Sherman, a photo series by Guy Mendes, and a unique chest of drawers that looks like a stacked firewood entitled “Facecord” by Mark Moskovitz. This mixed media work is entitled “The River” and the artist is Andrew Douglas Underwood who originally is from Louisville. Personally, I relate to Underwood’s piece because it weaves together metaphors and history relating to people’s long association with the Ohio River. This work effectively combines photography, embroidery, and found objects. Leticia Bajuyo’s “Pre-Fab(ulous) Environments” is an installation piece located on the museum’s second floor. Her multimedia piece with its blue Styrofoam installation house and suburban floor map complete with Happy Meal-styled folding cardboard houses reference contemporary suburban neighborhoods. This is an image of “Roan Mountain Matrix” by Denise Burge who lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her large fabric and thread works quote traditional Appalachian quilting while alluding to changes occurring to the land and its people through contemporary processes like mountain top coal removal. Joel McDonald’s “Bog Taan” is a tour-de-force mixed media drawing on 26 sheets of watercolor paper. This is a large, obsessively detailed work that touches upon the artist’s social views as told through the context of his Germantown neighborhood in Louisville, Kentucky. McDonald has a deep understanding and appreciation for 20th Century illustration. You could look at this artwork for a long time and keep finding images within it.
To conclude this post, I would like to include the comments left by gallery visitors upon engaging my blog in the gallery. Some of the comments are by children who participated in summer camp programs organized by the museum.
“Love this – so fun!
I once saw a duck taking a nap on a submerged & upside down shopping cart on the L-ville side of the OR (Ohio River)”
“The Joe Arbor set was sweet. Poignant. – you should do stop action animation.”
“Love the triker! and the deer-Styrobuck! and the spider-and Pip and the fish-”
“It’s beautiful, I love it! – famous artist”
“Looks like garbage to me!”
“Be cooler if it was metal”
“Some really remarkable & moving works! Really enjoyed 7 borders.” Lou Knowles…Forest Hills, New York
“I like it! Keep up the good work!”
“So Playful! What a blast. Thank you.”
“I like it!”
“Very interesting, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Love the blue nose man”
“dirty + whimsical like crawling through a broken greenhouse in the backyard + making toys as a child” Lilly Ettinger
“Love it!” “???” “Fabulous: fun, imaginative & thought provoking…Thank you” Mary from Wisconsin
“Quirky & original. Brought a smile to my face” K. Woodard (art teacher UK)
“I like the very last peice. I think personally it looks like here is a passage in between the trunk and the roots”
” I agree we did not make enough “to do” about the beginning of manned flight. I wouldn’t be here enjoying our work without a flight by plane. Also like your reminder to “follow your dreams” Kay Gorman (Maryland)
“Love them! Priddy Cool!”
“This is very suspicious and cool to see what people throw in the river”
“Love the birds…they are alive.” Adrian (New Zealand)
“It looks like two snowman”
“I think this was awsome”
“Love the recycling, cute and clever. Loved to take the time to see the whole-plus the blog.- Just a passer-by, Aug. ’13”
“Fab Al – Love where you went with this – Always happy too see your dementia” Paul and Sandy Sasso………..these folks are old college friends of mine
“They look like Big, Dirty, Marshmallows”
“You are awesome”
THIS WAS THE LAST OF THE COMMENTS LEFT AT THE EXHIBITION. NEXT TIME…SEE YOU FROM THE RIVER!