Now where do I begin with the exhibitions that I’ve manged to get into?
Hmm… Well, I suppose I should with the 2016 Art Hop. But I’ll let you go read more about that here since I’ve dedicated part of an entire post to it. I never got to attend the opening reception but I’m sure it was fantastic. I will say before I move on, that when I went back to pick up my stuff, I was lucky enough to have gotten an honorable mention on one of my pieces! No first place or cash prizes for me, but, to still be included was an honor so I’ll take that with grace. 🙂
Now, let’s get to some more exciting exhibitions! I was only in three for the entire semester if I include the 2016 Art Hop. The second one I made it into was the Experiencing War & Conflict show held on my university’s campus. My thoughts on this show were definitely mixed but I was happy overall. So let me tell you the entire story of how that my experience with that show went.
Well, it started off with me submitting to it. That was easy enough. Of course, they made me include an artist statement (which I hate writing) but I did a pretty good job overall. On October 5th, the day the exhibition opened, well, I was taken by surprise as to what went down.
When I got there, I was not surprised to be greeted by Chelsea White, my friend, since we were both in the show together. I arrived and as a part of tradition, I signed in on the guest list and listened to the announcements about the show. Chelsea Whittington, the orator, opened up the show with the announcements along with noting how difficult it was to choose what pieces were going to make it into the show. But shortly thereafter, we began browsing the show.
I stayed to see the entire show. To be fair, there was a marvelous amount of great work present. Some art was made of traditional media, and some of mixed media. I also noticed that Chuck Martin, a colleague of mine, had some work in the show as well. I was surprised to see his work up on the wall since I had never seen it before. Although, after experiencing his work and what his work is about, it made perfect sense to include it in the show. (Chuck photographs, or at least has photographed, images of literal warfare environments. His work seems very much photojournalistic.)
Then I finally made my way to my own work. It’s always so strange to see one’s own work up on a wall for all to see. Truly, because it simply highlights and elevates the work in a way. I suppose maybe that’s the bashful side of me speaking for a moment.
So I suppose I’d like to explain my work that made it in to the show for you guys rather quickly. In fact, allow me to simply put forward my own artist statement for the show:
My work explores the effects of the mental wars which are played out in the mind. The concepts of destruction and suffering are addressed to comment on the symptoms which arise from waged war.
The imagery draws on the techniques of Tenebrism, developed during the era of romanticism. Strong uses of shadow and light are critical in conveying the drama which is conflict. The work displays a plight while retaining an essence of ambiguity.
When thinking about war, often times the obvious comes to mind—a battle between opposing forces where the conflict is easily seen. However, less often do the intangible kinds of wars come to mind—those fought within the mind. These wars are often subtle in appearance, seemingly harmless, yet we are exposed to their effects and hardly realize: the sudden outburst, the quiet malice, the submissive sigh. After a compounded and repeated experience, a breaking point is reached in which the intangible becomes fully visual. That is the point where photography can convey a struggle kept barred by the mind, and where the wars and conflicts fought on the mental plane reach the physical plane. The results, still, are synonymous with ones made by physical war—devastation and distress.
I do hope that was rather informative. I suppose comparing the ideas in the statement to the images you see above is somewhat difficult considering the image quality, but alas, this is what I can give to you.
Then, before I had realized, it was time to announce the winners of the awards for the show.
Chelsea Whittington began listing off the awards and certifications for the artists involved in the exhibition. Somehow I ended up being the first person that they called! So, I went to go get my certificate.
She continued to go through each individual until we reached the actual artists who had received awards. Chuck Martin was one of them, who received Best Technical Execution, which doesn’t surprise me. His work seemed flawless.
Some other artists received their awards too for their respective categories. This actually made me really ecstatic once I realized that many of the artists in the show were actual veterans of war. Truly, that elevated the show to another level for me, so I had to go back and look at the work one more time before I left the show.
Anyway, that’s not the most memorable part for me. What was the most memorable part was when Chelsea White, y’know my friend, received her award for Best In Show. 😯
See, she was speechless and she was standing right next to me. So I had to help her get to the front of the crowd so she could go get her award which she so greatly deserved. Coincidentally, before we both got to the show, we told each other that one of us would win the Best In Show award, as just an encouragement to be hopeful and to uplift our own spirits. I think deep down, neither one of us expected either of us to get the award after seeing everyone else’s work.
If I may be honest, I was a bit bummed that I didn’t receive an award, especially not Best In Show. But I was far more content and happy once I knew that Chelsea White was receiving it instead. She really deserved it considering what her work was about (which I’ll explain in a minute.) It’s rather funny how you can go from being disappointed to content rather instantly because someone you care about is happy and you’re happy for them.
But I suppose life throws you a curveball sometimes! She ended up being interviewed by some of the journalism students and staff for The University Star newspaper on campus.
I stayed with her the entire time she was at the show. I guess I wanted to see what was going to happen afterwards (or maybe I just didn’t want to leave her…) After her impromptu interview, she had to sit down next to me and just relish in what had happened.
Suddenly, she was crying in front of me but I knew why. Her piece, Ash & Aura was very meaningful to her. Why? Well, it was dedicated to her late grandfather who had passed earlier this year. You might be able to imagine why she would get teary-eyed knowing that her artwork, which was connected so deeply to her beloved grandfather, had just won first place.
She began telling me how proud she was of herself and how far she had seemed to come. She kept telling me that she felt like she had finally honored her grandfather, in knowing that the image which reminds her so deeply of him, had bested everyone around her. She included these feelings in her interview and artist statement at the show.
I tell you guys, I was in a weird place. I wanted to hug her so badly, but I couldn’t… not yet anyway. I let her finish her words and then, I went to hug her. I know that she really didn’t need it, especially since she was a bit embarrassed by her overflow of emotions, but I wanted to give her that hug.
I just felt like an honest embrace would do her some good. Besides, I’m lucky enough for her to let me do that. That’s how good of friends we are. And I told her that her grandfather would be so proud of her too. I told her not to feel ashamed for how she felt, because she deserved every ounce of emotion she received. I made her feel safe enough to embrace herself for a moment. (Of course, I wasn’t just hugging her because of the reasons I listed above. I had some personal reasons too…)
But it was this moment that we seemed to share together, that made this exhibition so memorable for me. In the middle of an exhibition about war and conflict, she was experiencing some conflict of her own. Only this time, I was there to help her through it.
Later that night…
I treated Chelsea to a dinner at Red Lobster. I told her that it was in celebration of her accomplishment (which was true but not the whole truth.) We drove out a few exits down from the university to get there.
Now, I had never really been to Red Lobster. I mean, I’ve been to this restaurant before but it was a long time ago. Reason being because we avoid getting seafood at restaurants in my family because my dad is allergic to shellfish. But I’m not (thankfully) so I wanted to be a bit adventurous.
After sitting down, we ended up ordering something rather light to eat. I, of course, finished my plate and Chelsea didn’t finish her’s. But more importantly, we didn’t talk about many intimate things considering the events earlier in the day. We just enjoyed each other’s company instead.
In fact, I can’t actively remember what we talked about. I think my mind was caught up in the moment of being there with her. I do remember just staring into her eyes though, because I’ve always thought they were beautiful. In fact, even though I know we talked about a lot, I only remember just looking at her the entire time…
Sidenote: Our server was an old acquaintance of mine from elementary/primary school. I can’t recall his name because it had been some years but if memory serves right, his name was Payton. It was just rather crazy how we ran into each other again after so many years apart.
To be frank, I was more surprised that I remembered him too. My reason being that I actually actively blocked out a lot of people from my elementary days because I don’t want to remember them. But Payton, at least in the current time, is a good person. So it was a joy actually to run into him again.
Before I knew it, the dinner had ended and we were leaving. I really do wish I could remember more but, what I do intensely remember is just being really…happy. 🙂
There’s one more exhibition I was apart of, which was actually the Sabinal Show I mentioned earlier in this post! Now, since you guys know pretty much how that show went down already, there’s not need to go over it again. So instead, I’ll just throw up the image that submitted.
I was a bit surprised that this one got into the show, out of the two I submitted. But hey, once again, I was just glad that I was accepted into the show.
Well, that really concludes part two. In the next portion, I think I’m gonna have to dedicate the entire post to one specific thing. Or maybe not? I dunno. You’ll find out what it is next time. So until then, cheers!